With a great texture and fantastic aroma, this bread is great for dipping in a dish of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, topped with shredded cheese to make some cheese bread, used to make sandwiches, or chopped up to make the best tasting croutons ever.
To start proofing the yeast, make sure your water is warm. An instant read thermometer is inexpensive and is invaluable around the kitchen – the water should be between 105°F-115°F. Not all yeasts will foam when activated, some will only look creamy and have a few bubbles.
Once the dough is thick and smooth, pour it out onto a greased piece of parchment – sprinkle on a bit of cornmeal for a crunchier crust. Have a dish of water nearby and thoroughly wet your fingers, then flatten and pull the dough into the shape you want (1″ thick). Keep wetting your hands to prevent the dough from sticking.
To create the pockets for the spices, and give the bread a unique appearance, use the end of a wooden spoon that has been dipped in a mixture of olive oil and garlic. This will prevent it from sticking as you’re dimpling the dough, and will also imbed the garlic into the bread adding a wonderful flavor.
Olive & Asiago Focaccia
- 3 cups GFC All Purpose Flour Blend for Baking
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cups warm water 110°F, divided
- 2 pkgs active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 egg whites
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup kalamata olives chopped or sliced
- 2 Tbsp rosemary leaves chopped
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup asiago cheese grated
- Mix together the flour, gum and salt in a large bowl.
- In another bowl mix together 1 cup of warm water and the honey, then gently stir in the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour yeast mixture in. Add egg whites and vinegar and beat at low speed until combined. Batter should be thick and smooth. If too thick to beat with a mixer, add 1 Tbsp of water at a time. Continue to beat for 3 more minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment, spray with a bit of oil and sprinkle on a teaspoon or so of cornmeal if desired (makes a crunchier bottom crust). Make one large rectangular shape, or divide dough in a half and shape into two 8” rounds (1" thick). Use wetted hands to spread dough out, then let rest for 20 minutes in a warm area.
- Mix together the oil and garlic in a small dish. Dip the end of a wooden spoon into the oil mixture then randomly imprint the dough’s surface with dimples. Sprinkle the remaining topping ingredients over the surface (except the cheese), and lightly drizzle with the remaining oil mixture.
- Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle with the cheese, and allow to cool.