Focaccia (Italian balloon bread)

Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yields Serves 10
Focaccia (Italian balloon bread)

Basic pizza dough


Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in 1/2 cup of the water and set aside until foamy.


In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup warm water, the olive oil and yeast mixture. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, and salt mixing until the dough begins to come together in a ball. Spoon the dough onto a floured board and knead it until it’s smooth, elastic and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. It is then ready to use.



Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone or greased baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.


Place the dough round on the stone or baking sheet and bake until it puffs and is well browned, about 8 minutes. (Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.) Do not open the oven door during the first 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the breads from the oven, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Rosemary Focaccia (cracker bread): knead 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary into pizza dough, and follow directions for focaccia but use tines of a fork to pierce dough all over right before baking. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Makes 10 pieces.
This dough puffs up best-like a balloon-when baked on a pizza stone. It will puff up only slightly when baked on a baking sheet.

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