We head toward the day of thanks. Turkeys start filling up market shelves; stuffing contests inundate the blogsphere. Too many are still without and still struggling with rebuilding. For me the beauty of this holiday is not a religious affiliation rather the coming together of different peoples to celebrate gratitude. At my table there is always room for another chair, and this year in particular, my soul and thoughts are with the family, friends and others that are still seeking warmth, shelter and security. Rejoice in those gathered around the table and the abundance that is available to be shared.
Invite those in need to break bread…..
Parmesan Focaccia - yields 1 12x18 bread
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
1 packet dry active yeast
½-cup grated parmesan cheese
½-cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
12"x18" Baking Tray
Combine the flour and salt together to mix well. Measure the water into a work bowl and whisk in the sugar and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. If using a standing mixer place the flour, into the yeast mixture along with ¼-cup of oil, and work until combined and smooth using the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed – mixing about 5 to 10 minutes. Then add in the parmesan cheese and knead to thoroughly distribute the cheese.
If by hand -- mix all the ingredients together, holding back 1-1/2 cups of the flour, and knead the dough until smooth to the touch. You will need to add in the remaining flour in small amounts while you knead the dough. The dough should not be tacky to the touch.
Gather the dough into a ball, and cover with a dampened kitchen towel, and place in a warm spot. Let the dough double in size -- about 45 to 60 minutes.
Oil the baking tray with the remaining oil. Oil your hands and punch the dough down. Press and stretch the dough into the baking tray. The dough will not fill the entire tray at this point. If a hole occurs pinch the dough back together. Season the dough with some black pepper. Let the dough rest again for 20 minutes, covered loosely with oiled plastic wrap.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Bake the focaccia for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and baked through. Cool before cutting.