This bread is delicious with a barbecue or buffet. It is airy and topped with tomato, herbs and cheese. The crispy outside of the bread, the airy interior combined with the topping of sweet tomatoes, salty cheese and Italian seasoning is really a must!
2tablespoons Italian herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano
3tablespoonsolive oil extra vierge
Put the yeast together with the sugar and the water in a small bowl and mix well.
Let stand for 5 minutes. During this time you get bubbles on the surface. If there are no bubbles, then your yeast is no longer good and it is better to use a new bag/package.
Place a baking paper on the baking sheet.
Wash the tomatoes and cut into thin slices (¼ inch, ½ cm thick) and season with salt and pepper.
Finely chop the Italian herbs and garlic for the topping and mix them with the olive oil.
Put the flour in the bowl and add the yeast mixture and the olive oil.
Knead with the mixer for 5 minutes and then sprinkle the salt on it.
Mix another 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Grease a bowl with some oil and put the dough in it.
Turn the dough once and first cover the bowl with a slightly damp tea towel over which you put plastic foil.
Place the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 430 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).
Press the air out of the dough.
Place the dough on a baking sheet and press it into the desired shape (about ½ inch / 1.5 cm thick).
Push with your fingers holes in the Focaccia (not completely through the dough, just enough until you get a slight bowl).
Spread the tomato slices on top of the Focaccia.
Sprinkle the bread with the herbal oil.
Bake the bread for 10 minutes in the oven, remove it and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Then bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until the Focaccia is golden brown.
You can prepare the dough in the bread machine, choose the dough program with the first rise. If you don't have a bread machine then you can also use a mixer with dough hooks. Just make sure that in that case the water you are going to add is lukewarm. Yeast works best between 85 - 99 degrees Fahrenheit (30 and 37 degrees Celsius). Because you add the water warm the yeast is starting to work right away. In the bread machine this process is automated.
Making the focaccia kneading by hand is possible, but the dough is rather sticky, so that won't be easy. Opt for a mixer or bread machine if you got one.
When using yeast add a small spoonful of sugar. The yeast breaks down the sugar and tuns it into air bubbles which gives airiness to the dough.
Knead the dough at least 10, but even more preferably 15 minutes, to allow the gluten to develop properly. This makes the bread soft and fluffy instead of hard and chewy bread.
Don't add the cheese in the beginning. That way it will burn. The bread is baked at a very high temperature and the cheese will become very hard and brown when it is add immediately with the rest of the topping. Therefor bake the focaccia 10 minutes take it out, sprinkle with the cheese and bake for another 7 minutes.