Italians know food, and their bread is no exception. This foccacia is perfect for soaking up any leftover sauce from your pasta or for making a delicious hearty sandwich. The texture is firm and just tough enough, it's deliciously flavored from the herbs and the parmesan, and it's insanely easy to make. If you don't have a lot of time, but love fresh baked bread - this is the one for you.
- water - 1 cup, warm
- sugar - 1 tsp
- yeast - 1 package dry, or 25g fresh
- all purpose flour - 2 3/4 cups
- salt - 1 tsp
- black pepper - 1/2 tsp
- oregano - 1 tsp, dried
- thyme - 1/2 tsp, dried
- basil - 1/2 tsp, dried
- olive oil - 2 tbsp, separated
- parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup, finely grated
- fresh herbs - oregano or rosemary, finely chopped optional
- Put the water in a small bowl, stir in the yeast and sugar and let sit until bubbly, about 5 - 6 minutes.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, pepper and herbs.
- Make a well in the center of the flour, pour in the yeast mixture and 1 tbsp of the olive oil and stir together with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic - about 8 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball, put in a clean large bowl and drizzle a little oil on top. Roll the ball around to cover completely with oil, then cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 425 F (220 C) and cover a baking sheet with baking paper, then spray or grease the paper.
- Punch the dough down, then turn out onto the baking paper and pat into a large 1/2 " (1 cm) rectangle.
- Use your fingers to gently poke the dough, making indentations all over the bread, then prick gently with a fork.
- Brush the top of the bread with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, then sprinkle on the parmesan and fresh herbs, if using.
- Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes, until golden brown.