It's a great flatbread with a semi-crispy crust, a soft and chewy inside and embued with all sorts of flavor. Just enough herbage is mixed in to give it a great taste, which is enhanced by the amount of olive oil added into and on top of the bread. Yes, this is not a low-calorie bread, but it's absolutely delicious.
It's perfect as an accent to any pasta dish, great for wiping sauce off the plate. But it's absolutely awesome when you stack some salami, pepperoni and a little Italian ham inside. Add a little lettuce, pepperoncinis and a splash of oil and vinegar and you have the perfect Italian sandwich. I also slice it in half, add some pepperoni and cheese, then place it under the broiler for a few minutes to create a quick pizza for the kids.
It freezes well too, so you can make a full pan, use some for dinner, then slice up the rest into sandwish size portions for lunches over the next week or so.
Italian Herb Focaccia Bread
1 3/4 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees, take it's temperture to make sure)
1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (a little more than one tablespoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 different 1/2 cup portions of olive oil
Little more olive oil for coating the pans
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
Coarse sea salt for topping the bread
Add the water and brown sugar to a bowl and stir. Then add the yeast and allow it to bloom for about 10 minutes.
While that is happening, add 4 1/2 cups of flour, the basil, oregano and salt to a mixing bowl and mix using the hook attachment for 2 minutes. Add the first 1/2 of oil to the bread and mix for another minute.
When the yeast wait time is up, add the water to the flour and oil mixture and continue to mix until the bread pulls off the side of the bowl. Add more flour as you need to. Once it's pulled off the side, continue to let the hook attachment knead the bread for 6-7 minutes.
Remove the bread dough from the bowl and knead it on the counter for another minute. Lubricate the insides of the mixing bowl with olive oil and return the bread to the bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
Grease a large cookie sheet with sides or 1/4 sheet pan with a little more olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the pan and press it out so it covers the entire pan. Pour the second portion of olive oil on top and use your hands to spread it all over the top. Using your fingertips, make the customary dimples all over the surface of the bread. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and rosemary over the top of the bread and let it sit in your cool oven for another 45 minutes.
Use as a side dish for a meal or the bread for a great sandwich.