Foccacia - A Healthy Food Trend of the New Millennium

As a lean bread, foccacia basically consists of flour, water, yeast, and salt. What is so great about this Italian flatbread is that you determine and control the extra amount of calories and fat to include as toppings.

Ingredients for a 17" x 12" foccacia are:

5 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 cups of water

1 teaspoon of salt

Olive oil, as needed

Sautee onions, mushrooms, red or green peppers, as much as desired

Cooked ground meat, as much as desired

Grated parmesan, or Romano, or mozzarella, or even cheddar cheese, as much as desired

  • Coat a 17" x 12" baking pan with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.

  • Using an electric mixer, mix flour, instant yeast, water, and salt with a dough hook. Do this at medium speed for about 5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and sticky. It should clear sides of bowl, but still stick to the bottom.

  • Coat another bowl with olive oil and transfer dough there. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise until doubled, about an hour.

  • Gently turn dough out onto prepared baking pan. Using your knuckles, stretch and press it to evenly cover baking pan. Dimple dough with your fingertips.

  • Top with sautee onions, mushrooms, red or green peppers. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to rise again until nearly doubled, about 30 - 40 minutes.

  • Fifteen minutes before dough is ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place a generous topping of cooked ground meat and bake for 20 minutes or until foccacia is lightly golden brown, especially around the edges.

  • At this point, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese, Romano, mozzarella, or even Cheddar and continue baking for another 5 minutes.

  • Remove foccacia from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving.

  • Your finished foccacia should be golden brown, very light and springy. It pairs perfectly well with spaghetti sauce.

As with most lean breads, foccacia is best the day it is made. Do not refrigerate leftover because the bread will dry out. Freeze foccacia for longer keeping.

The author of this article enjoys baking, especially breads and cookies. She creates a Web site, Baking Perfect Homemade Cookies With Five Essential Rules, to share her cookie baking experience.

Copyright 2006 by Trinh Lieu

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