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Breads

Focaccia (Italian balloon bread)

Pizza is described in one dictionary as a "baked, open-faced pie consisting of a thin layer of dough topped with tomato sauce and cheese." In which century was that written? Somebody has to tell them about Thai barbecue chicken. By ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes plus preparation time for dough | Serves 10

Basic pizza dough

  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees), divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

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

Step 2In 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.

Assembly

  • Basic Pizza Dough
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt

Step 1Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone or greased baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.

Step 2Place 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.

Variations

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.

Note: 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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