I posted recently that I had gotten out of the habit of making focaccia since I left Italy last November, but now that I have started back again I wonder why I ever stopped. Focaccia is so easy to make and the potential ways to flavor focaccia are endless. You can use a larger pan and create a crisper, thinner focaccia that is great to snack on, or use a smaller pan to create a thicker, softer focaccia that can be cut into wedges and used as bread, or for sandwiches.
I had a big bunch of garlic in my vegetable tray that were just crying out to be used, so this week I decided that roasted garlic focaccia was in order. Roasting garlic completely transforms it, and once roasted the flavor mellows and sweetens. Roasted garlic is delicious folded into any bread dough, or slathered across focaccia as I do in this recipe. Round focaccia like these ones are great stuffed as panini by simply slicing them in half crosswise and filling them with your favorite cured meats and cheeses. You can then cut the focaccia into quarters and serve. Alternatively, you can cut these round focaccia into six wedges and use on an antipasti tray, or serve alongside bowls of soup.
Deborah Mele 2013
Roasted Garlic Focaccia
- 4 Medium Whole Heads Of Garlic
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Instant Yeast
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees f.
- To prepare your garlic, first remove the outer skin of the heads of garlic, keeping the bulbs intact.
- Cut off the top 1/2 inch off the top of the bulbs.
- Place the bulbs in a small baking pan, and drizzle with the olive oil.
- Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake in a 450 degree F. oven for around forty minutes, or until the garlic is soft.
- Let the garlic cool to room temperature.
- For the focaccia, measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water.
- Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
- Add half the water and stir to mix.
- Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
- Roll the ball around in the oil, ensuring the sides of the bowl, and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
- Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the ambient temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Divide your dough into four equal pieces and roll each into a ball.
- Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with olive oil.
- Take each ball of dough and flatten with the palm of your hand, then slowly stretch it using your fingers while turning it until you have an 8 inch circle.
- Place each circle on the prepared baking sheet and cover with kitchen towels for 10 minutes.
- Take a head of garlic and squeeze it over one of the focaccia rounds to remove the soft, roasted garlic.
- Use the back of a spoon to spread the garlic evenly across the top.
- Continue with the remaining heads of garlic and focaccia.
- Use the tips of your fingers to dimple the entire top of the focaccia, and the drizzle with olive oil turning the pan carefully to allow the oil to roll into the indentations.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt and dried oregano across the top of each focaccia.
- Bake the focaccia until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes, turning pans as needed during baking to ensure they brown evenly.
- Cool 15 minutes before slicing.