Saturday, September 8, 2012

Focaccia (topped with cheddar cheese and zucchini & onions marinated in balsamic vinegar and garlic)

I love baking bread - its a stress buster actually. Baking has been a passion always - it is something thats therapeutic and I think I love it more than cooking. We love focaccia at home - Love experimenting with the various toppings that I can lay my hands on. I have always followed the Betty Crocker Cookbook to bake a focaccia and it has never failed me.


3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves (crumbled)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
5 tablespoons olive / vegetable oil
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sliced zucchini
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic - finely grated
pinch of salt


Take a bowl and make a marinade with the balsamic vinegar, grated garlic and pinch of salt and mix well. To this add the zucchini and onion slices - cover with a cling foil and let it marinade till the bread dough gets ready.
In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of flour, the rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoons oil and the hot water. Mix well for about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 5 to 8 minutes untill it becomes smooth and springy. Grease a big bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover it with cling foil and let it rise in a warm place for about 30 to 45 minutes till the dough has doubled in size. when it has risen, gently push the dough to deflate it.  Grease a big pizza pan or 2 cookie sheets with some oil - if you are using 2 cookie sheets to bake then divide the dough into 2 equal portions and if you are using a big pizza pan then use the dough as it is.
Flatten the dough into the cooking pan of choice and let it form a round shape (just like pizza) - about 1/4 inch thick. Cover with a cling foil and let it rest for about 30 minutes till the dough has doubles in size.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Gently make 1/2 inch deep depressions in the dough about 2 inches apart with fingers. Carefully brush the 2 tablespoons on oil on to it. Arrange the zucchini and onion slices and evenly spread the cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes untill the crust becomes golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

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