Cheese-and-Herb Stuffed Focaccia
Filled with feta, mozzarella and fresh herbs, and topped with coarse salt and more fresh herbs, this yeasty homemade focaccia bread is sure to please.
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup (2-ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup (2-ounces) shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
1/3 cup snipped fresh herbs (ie: basil, oregano, Italian parsley and/or rosemary)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons snipped fresh herbs
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine. Program for Dough or Manual, and press Start. (See Cook's Note.)
- Check dough during first kneading, adding a few drops of water at a time, if needed, and using a spatula to scrape sides of bread pan to help combine ingredients into a stiff dough.
- When Dough cycle is through, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Round each half into a loose ball, and allow the balls to rest, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the gluten in the dough to relax, which helps make the focaccia easier to shape.
- Roll one dough ball into a 10 to 12-inch circle. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Top with the filling ingredients evenly to about 1-inch from the edge. Roll the second dough ball into an equal-sized circle, then place it atop the filling. Press the edges of the dough together firmly to seal the two circles and fold under (if necessary) to ensure the seal.
- Cover the focaccia with a damp cloth or lightly floured plastic wrap. Allow the focaccia to rise for 45 minutes, or until puffy.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Gently make indentions (dimples) in the focaccia with your fingers, brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse salt and rosemary.
- Bake the focaccia for 18 to 22 minutes, until it's golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 1 focaccia or 8 servings.
Filling Variations: Chopped roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, caramelized onions and roasted garlic.
Tip: No bread machine? Mix together all of the dough ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, then knead with your hands, an electric mixer with a dough hook, or use a food processor to form a smooth dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.