Quick Focaccia

Quick Focaccia

This came from an ad for King Arthur Flour in Gourmet November 2008. Not surprisingly, I have never seen that brand here in Vallarta, so I subbed a more readily available brand with excellent results.

The easiest bread I have ever made, and it turned out wonderfully.

It takes less than 10 minutes to throw it all together, then just wait for the yeast to do its thing before baking. As with most homemade bread, this is best the day it is made.

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon instant yeast or 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/4 cups flour
sea salt for sprinkling
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Lightly grease 9 x 13″ pan.  Drizzle 1 Tablespoon olive oil in bottom and
swirl pan to spread.
In bowl of stand mixer, combine water, yeast, remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and flour.  
Using paddle attachment, stir to combine, then increase speed to high and beat for 60 seconds.  The dough will be more like a batter. 
Pour into the prepared  baking dish, cover  with plastic wrap and
set in warm, draft free place.  Let rise until it becomes puffy – 60 minutes for instant yeast and 90 for active dry yeast.
Preheat oven t 375F.  Drizzle dough with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.
Bake until golden brown, 35 – 40 minutes.  Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes in pan then turn out onto rack to cool.


Grilled Flatbread

You should start this 1 day in advance.  It can be done same day, but you will have to allow a couple of hours to chill the dough before shaping.   The actual work time is minimal.  Mix the dough on Thursday, pop it in the fridge and it is ready for grilling on Friday or Saturday.   The time spent in your refrigerator allows for a slow rise which gives the bread its nice chewy texture and a bit of extra flavour.  Plus, by letting it rise in the fridge for day or 2, I don’t feel like I’ve spent the whole day making bread.

The dough is very wet


When its time to grill the breads, take a cookie sheet and some (lots of) flour outside so you can be right beside the grill.  The dough is sticky.  You will need a lot of extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and anything else it may come into contact with.

Yes, it is messy, but relax, and have fun with this.  In our house, I do the rolling and Kevin does the grilling, but if you prefer, you can do it by yourself.  Just don’t forget to oil the grill before each flatbread goes on.  Also, as the dough warms, it gets softer, so work quickly!

Use lots of flour

Aside from the type of yeast I use and a huge reduction in salt,  it is pretty much as written in the original.  After all, it is a bread recipe.   Not a lot of changes I could make and still have it come out right.




OOOps,  this one fell thru a bit

The finished flat breads

Toppings for this bread are important!!  Fresh tomatoes? Yes!  Feta or cotija cheese, maybe some Lebnah?  Slices of roast beef?  Sure.   But for me, the absolute MUST HAVES are the Ancho Chile Oil and the Charmoula.  They take this bread to the next level.  Make them the day before you plan to grill the flatbreads if you like. The chile oil will keep for a week, the charmoula for up to 3 days.



Grilled Flatbread

2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast

4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Vegetable oil (for brushing on the grill)

Topping suggestions:

Ancho Chile Oil , Green Charmoula , and grated Cotija or Feta cheese

Puréed black beans, sliced avocado, radishes

Sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, black olives, red onion

In a large bowl, combine the instant yeast with the all-purpose and whole wheat flours.  Add up to 3 cups of water, mixing with your fingers until a shaggy dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle salt over dough, then add sour cream.  Knead until well incorporated and dough pulls away from sides of bowl and holds together in a loose, wet ball.  About 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft and wet.   Lightly moisten your hands to prevent sticking if needed.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Knead dough an additional 4-5 times to deflate. Cover and chill for up to 2 days. (Dough will develop in flavor and continue to rise slowly in refrigerator.) Alternatively, let dough stand at room temperature until doubled in volume, 3-4 hours (the warmer and more humid your kitchen is, the faster it will rise). Chill for 1 hour before grilling to make it easier to handle.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Generously flour your work surface. Working with 1 portion at a time  roll out dough or press with your hands into a 1/4″-thick shape. (It doesn’t have to be perfectly round, mine rarely are!)

Brush grill rack with oil. Grill flatbreads until lightly charred on one side and no longer sticking to grill, 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, turn over and grill until cooked through, 1-2 minutes longer. Serve warm, with desired toppings.


Naan Bread

A happy day it was, when we learned how to make this at home!  these instructions are for grilling this bread on a charcoal grill, however, a gas grill or cast iron pan stove top will work just as well.  It may take some practice, and your first batch(es) may not be perfect (or edible), but if you are reading this, you probably already know that learning this will be well worth the effort.  Enjoy.

Pumpkin-Spice Hummus
Naan Bread with Pumpkin-Spiced Hummus

Naan Bread

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt (plus more for finishing)

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup plain yogurt (not greek) or sour cream

2 Tablespoons melted butter,  ghee or canola oil (plus more for finishing bread)

Whisk flour, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl.

Stir milk and yogurt and 2 Tablespoons melted butter together to combine and pour into flour mixture.  Mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn  out onto lightly floured board.  Dough will be sticky.   Adding flour as needed, knead until a soft, smooth dough forms.  About 7 minutes.

Form into ball and place in lightly oiled bowl.  Turn to coat, cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm draft- free place until dough is doubled in size.  30 – 45 minutes.  (Instant yeast works faster than regular, so keep a close eye on it)

Punch down, divide into 10 pieces.  With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and place on lightly floured cookie sheet.   Cover with flour dusted kitchen towel and let rest 10 minutes.   (If you are not making the bread right away, place the tray in the fridge -up to 3 hours covered with a kitchen towel).

Preheat grill to HOT.

On a lightly floured surface, and with  floured hands, pat and stretch dough into about an 8″ circle.  (honestly, the shape doesn’t matter.  You need to be concerned that the dough is more or less uniform thickness, about 1/8 inch.  You could roll the dough out, but the bumps left by your fingers  give the bread an interesting surface texture).

Toss onto preheated grill and let sit until dough starts to  bubble and the surface looks slightly dry, 2 – 3  minutes.   Flip over and cook for another minute or two, until charred in spots.  remove from heat, lightly brush with melted butter (or ghee) and sprinkle very lightly with salt.  Repeat for remaining pieces.

Toss on preheated grill

Fresh Naan!!