How To Bake Easy Focaccia With Your Bread Machine

This is just about as easy as it gets for some really good homemade focaccia. Make the dough in your bread machine (or with a stand-type mixer). It doesn't take a lot of time and it's a great project to tackle with the kids.

Here's how:

Start with a lean, white bread machine mix, or use the recipe below. By lean, we mean one that is low fat and doesn't call for fresh eggs. A buttermilk bread mix is perfect.

Easy Bread Machine Focaccia

Bread Ingredients

1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dough conditioner
1 4-gram yeast packet

Add the ingredients in accordance with the manufacture's directions or mix in your stand-type mixer. Set the bread machine to the dough setting. If you are using a stand-type mixer, after mixing, let the dough rise until doubled.

Punch down the dough, shape it into a ball, and then cover it with plastic wrap. Let it stand for 15 minutes. In the meantime, mix together the following ingredients for a topping:

Topping Ingredients

2-3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano flakes
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Gently place the round dough on a large greased baking sheet and press it into an oval 9x15-inches. Make 1/2-inch deep indentations in the dough with your fingers one to two inches apart.

Pour two to four tablespoons of olive oil over the dough, letting it run down into the indentations. Spoon the topping mixture evenly over the dough.

Bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top turns golden brown. Remove the bread to a wire rack to cool for ten minutes before serving warm. Makes ten to twelve servings.

Notes: You can use this as a pizza crust or vary the toppings or spices to taste. Try onions, mushrooms, or spinach. If you don't have olive oil, you can use melted butter or a good quality vegetable oil.

Copyright 2003-2007, The Prepared Pantry ( ). Published by permission

Dennis Weaver is a baker, a recipe designer, and a writer. He has written extensively about baking including How to Bake, a comprehensive baking and reference e-book--available free at The Prepared Pantry which sells baking supplies and tools and has a free online baking library.

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