It seems everywhere I look online folks have gone crazy baking bread, and I must say I too have baked more bread in the past month than usual. Both flour and yeast are in high demand, with many grocery stores sold out of both. I have heard of friends sharing some of their precious yeast with other friends, some even shipping it across the country! With yeast being in short supply, many folks are getting a crash course in creating their own sourdough starter to make bread without yeast. I am lucky in that I usually have a good supply of both these treasured ingredients on hand. I make focaccia every week, and Friday nights are often pizza night at my house.
I have made quite a bit of focaccia since we have been sheltering-in-place as it is so easy to make, and you can flavor it in a myriad of different ways. For this recipe, I made four small round focaccia that I topped with flavorful Kalamata olives and frozen artichokes. I first thawed the artichokes, then pan sautéed to give them more flavor. You could also add some slices of onions if you wanted to, and some chopped fresh thyme or rosemary are always delicious on top of focaccia.
If we were in Italy right now as we had planned to be, I would be using fresh artichokes. Unfortunately, fresh artichokes are not readily available near me, so I replace fresh artichokes with frozen ones instead. I prefer frozen chokes to canned ones as I find the canned ones have a metallic taste. If you can’t find frozen artichokes, than I would suggest using the marinated ones sold in jars. Just drain them well and pat dry with paper towels before using them.
Deborah Mele 2020
- 5 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
- 2 1/2 Cups Warm Water (Approximately)
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Pitted Kalamata Olives
- 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Artichoke Pieces, Thawed & Patted Dry
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Mix together 5 cups of the flour, 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
- Add just enough warm water along to create a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured counter, and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant, adding a little additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your 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 or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper that has been lightly brushed with olive oil.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each into a round disc.
- Use your fingers to stretch each disc into a 7 to 8 inch circle and place two circles on each baking sheet.
- Cover the dough circles with a clean kitchen towel and let rest while the oven heats.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, then add the artichokes.
- Fry, stirring often until the chokes just begin to take on color.
- Use your fingertips to create dimples across the top of each focaccini, then drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sprinkle with some coarse sea salt.
- Divide the artichokes and olives between the four focaccia.
- Bake the focaccini until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes (internal temperature of 190 degrees F.)
- Allow to cool to room temperature, then enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 413mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 5gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g