Focaccia Bread with Garlic and Basil

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I like my soup with a hearty bread..there is something about dunking and letting bread soak up all that soupy goodness. No? I have always settled with store bought bread to accompany my soup but after discovering this focaccia bread, I may never go back to my old ways ever again. 
 

Focaccia is a close cousin of pizza, only thicker and has toppings embedded into the dough minus the sauce. I made mine with garlic, basil, and topped with cheese but the dough is a blank canvas. Use your favorite toppings, I am thinking olives, sundried tomatoes, cilantro, goat cheese, rosemary...its endless. Sweet focaccia is a whole new world I have yet to explore.

I am usually intimated by baking Italian bread at home because it involves yeast (I am very good at killing them) and the wait time is just too much..turns out the focaccia is easier than the easiest pizza dough. Who knew? I really hope you guys will give it a try too.

Focaccia Bread with Garlic and Basil (recipe adapted from here) 

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast 
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 pinch of sugar 
2 tablespoon dried basil pinch of salt and pepper
4 tablespoon olive oil (do not use all at once)
Toppings:
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoon basil, minced
1/2 cup mozzarella shredded (i used part-skim)
Directions
- In a large bowl such as KitchenAid, mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Let it proof for 10-15  minutes (you should see small bubbles). 
- Add flour, salt, black pepper, dried basil, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoon oil to the wet mix. See note. - Using a dough hook or your hand, form a dough and continue pulling it together until its smooth and elastic.
- Coat the bowl with about 1 tablespoon oil and cover it with a cloth. Let it rise for 30-45 minutes. - Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
- Punch dough down and place on greased baking sheet. 
- Make the dough into 1/2 inch thick rectangle and form indentations in the dough. 
- Drizzle or brush 1 tablespoon olive oil over it and fill the indentation with garlic + basil mixture followed by mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the cheese is melted and looks golden brown.
- Remove from the heat, slice and dunk.

Note:

- The original recipe requires you to mix wet and dry ingredients separately but I mixed everything together because I am too lazy to wash the dishes however, you can do so if you'd like. 
- The bread freezes very well; simply reheat it in toaster oven for 2 minutes. 
ps some soup ideas?  
Butternut Squash Soup - my current favorite and on the picture above
Asparagus Soup (Creamy) - just go easy on cream and butter
Chipotle Turkey Chili - if you like spicy things
Coconut Chickpea Stew - very similar to chanamasala
French Lentil & Wheat Berry Stew - hearty and slow cooker friendly
Split Peas & Barley Soup - comforting for your body and soul 
 
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