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Focaccia

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Focaccia Blue Jean Chef - Meredith Laurence

This is a simple Italian bread to make with children which they can decorate with their own toppings.

About:
Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread similar in style and texture to pizza; in some places, it is called "pizza bianca". Focaccia can be served as a side dish or as sandwich bread.

In Northwest Italy, a popular variant is focaccia dolce 'sweet focaccia', which is sprinkled lightly with sugar, and may include raisins or honey.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water (about 110°F)
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 9 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sliced bell peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, parsley leaves, sliced red onion, sliced black olives, and Broccolini florets, for decorating

Method:

  • Stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Let sit until mixture begins to bubble, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add flour and salt, stirring until combined.
  • Pour 4 Tbs. oil into a separate large bowl.
  • Add flour mixture to oil, turning to coat.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours.
  • Drizzle 4 Tbs. oil into a 13x18-in. baking pan.
  • Using your hands, spread oil evenly around the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Gently punch down dough and place in prepared pan. Using your fingertips, push dough to evenly cover the bottom of pan.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 230°C.
  • Remove plastic wrap. Dimple focaccia all over with your fingers, creating deep depressions in the dough. Arrange vegetables and herbs over the dough.
  • Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbs. oil.
  • Bake focaccia until puffed and golden brown all over, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Transfer bread to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes before cutting into 12 squares.

Buon Appetito!

Hints and Tips:

  • Rainbow Colours - add cherry tomatoes and bell peppers for red, orange, and yellow, herbs and Broccolini florets for green, black olives for blue, and red onion for indigo and violet.
  • Kaleidoscopic Spiral. Start in the centre with a round vegetable (a slice of red onion offers the perfect vortex effect). Then assemble concentric circles around it made up of veggies indifferent colours.
  • Pretty Flower Garden. Use parsley, chives, rosemary, or thyme to form “stems” and “leaves.” Create “petals” from bell-pepper rings and cherry tomato and red-onion slices. Add olives, sunflower seeds, or capers for flower centres.

How Kids Can Help:

  • Have them mix ingredients in a bowl using a spoon or even their hands.
  • Press the dough into the pan and spread it out to the edges. Then have them poke it with their fingertips.
  • Let kids get creative arranging the veggies on the top.

References:
Focaccia, Wikipedia
Parents Magazine's November 2020 issue as “Focaccia Made Fun”

Additional Info

  • Servings: 8+
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cooking Time: 60 mins +
  • Recipe Categories: Toddler Foods, Kids Lunchbox Ideas, Kids Snacks, Kids Vegetarian, Multicultural Food, Kids Party Food
More in this category: « Bread In A Bag   ||  
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