Go Focaccia Yourself


Focaccia bread is a rustic Italian flatbread made with simple ingredients. Here it is topped with salt and rosemary, but other tasty toppings include olives, pancetta, anchovies, softened onions, or grapes. Traditionally, focaccia is baked straight on the hearth, but a good way to get a crisp crust at home is to bake it in cake pans. This version also takes advantage of using a “sponge” (a pre-fermented portion of the overall dough) to get even more flavor out of the finished bread. The recipe follows:

Makes 2   9-inch focaccia


1/2 cup all-purpose flour                                                                                                                       1/3 cup warm water                                                                                                                               1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

Combine flour, water, and yeast in a small bowl and stir to combine and no dry bits of flour remain. Cover bowl tightly and leave out at room temperature overnight.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping                                                                       1 1/4 cups warm water                                                                                                                          1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast                                                                                               Kosher salt                                                                                                                                               4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil                                                                                                    2 teaspoons minced, fresh rosemary

Stir water, sponge, flour, and yeast in a large bowl until combined and no dry bits of flour remain. You may need to use your hands to finish mixing. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over dough and mix in using wet hands. Dough will be very wet and sticky. Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. To achieve the open and airy crumb that characterizes focaccia bread, it is best to use a gentle kneading method. After the first 30 minutes, get your hand wet and pull one side of the dough up and over itself. This is called a fold. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and fold again. Do a total of 8 folds. Cover the bowl and let rest another 30 minutes. Fold dough another 8 times. Cover the bowl and let rest another 30 minutes. Fold dough another 8 times. Cover bowl and let rest for the last 30 minutes. To review, the dough will rise for a total of 2 hours, with 3 sessions of folding, every half hour.

One hour before baking, place a baking stone or overturned rimmed baking sheet on upper-middle rack of oven, and heat oven to 450 degrees.

Gently transfer dough to a floured work surface. Lightly flour top of dough and divide in half. Shape each piece of dough into a round by pulling edges of dough into the middle. Coat 2 9-inch cake pans with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil each. Sprinkle each pan with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Place round of dough in 1 pan, top side down, slide dough around pan to coat bottom and sides with oil, then flip over. Repeat with second piece of dough. Cover pans with kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

Using fingertips, gently press dough out toward edges of pan, taking care not to tear it. If dough resists, let sit another 5 minutes. Using a fork, poke entire surface or dough 20-25 times, popping any large bubbles. Sprinkle rosemary evenly over dough. Let rest until slightly bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.

Place pans on baking stone or baking sheet and bake for 25-28 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are golden brown. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Take loaves out of pans and return to rack. Brush tops of bread with any remaining oil in pans. Let cool for 30 minutes. Tear bread apart and enjoy.


Naan Sense


Naan is a wonderful, soft, chewy Indian flatbread. Traditionally it is baked against the superheated sides of a tandoor oven. To replicate the charred exterior and tender interior that distinguish this bread, a hot cast-iron skillet is the best way to go. See what all the buzz is about and make this no-nonsense bread now!!

Makes 4 Flatbreads

1/2 cup warm water

1/3 cup plain yogurt

3 Tb canola oil

1 large egg yolk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp sugar

1/2 tsp rapid-rise yeast

1 ¼ tsp salt

2 Tb melted butter

In a small bowl, combine water, yogurt, oil, and egg yolk. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and yeast. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is just combined. Cover and let dough stand for 30 minutes.

Add salt to the dough and knead until it is a satiny, sticky ball. Let rise in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours, turning every half hour. The dough won’t necessarily double, but will be slightly aerated and smooth.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into four even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes, covered.

On a floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough, with a rolling pin, into a 9-inch round of even thickness. Using a fork, poke entire surface of dough 20 to 25 times. Heat 1 tsp oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet, over medium heat, until shimmering and wipe clean. Mist top of dough lightly with water. Place dough in pan, moistened side down; mist top surface of dough with water, and cover. Cook until bottom is browned in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip naan, cover, and continue to cook on second side until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and brush with melted butter. Repeat rolling and cooking remaining 3 dough balls.