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Italian Balloon Bread - {Focaccia}


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  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast - (1/4 oz ea)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water - (110 to 115 degrees) divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Servings 10


Step 1

Note: This dough puffs up best-like a balloon-when baked on a pizza stone. It will puff up only slightly when baked on a baking sheet.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone or greased baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.

For the Basic Pizza Dough: Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in 1/2 cup of the water and set aside until foamy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup warm water, the olive oil and yeast mixture. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, and salt mixing until the dough begins to come together in a ball. Spoon the dough onto a floured board and knead it until it's smooth, elastic and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. It is then ready to use. This makes enough dough for 2 pizzas.

Tear off pieces of dough the size of plums. Place them on a floured board and press them into flat circles with your palms. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into an 8-inch circle about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Place the dough round on the stone or baking sheet and bake until it puffs and is well browned, about 8 minutes. (Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.) Do not open the oven door during the first 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the breads from the oven, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Variation: To make Rosemary Focaccia (cracker bread), knead 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary into pizza dough, and follow directions for focaccia but use tines of a fork to pierce dough all over right before baking. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Makes 10 pieces.

This recipe yields 10 servings.

Each serving: 213 calories; 267 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 34 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 1.30 grams fiber.

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