Despite the fact that I am a millennial and grew up in the age of Silicon Valley and social media, there are so many seemingly straight-forward aspects of technology that baffle me. I was raised with the internet in the back pocket – literally. Yet, WiFi access on a plane flying at 30,000 feet still confounds me. In fact, I’m writing this post via said elusive plane internet.
At work, I am the youngest and am therefore designated as tech support. This means that I press buttons on my coworkers computers until something works. Fake it til you make it, baby! Technology continues to confuse me everyday, but somehow I always manage to figure it out in the end. This is very rewarding, as you can imagine. A lot of these feelings of frustration, bewilderment, and ultimate gratification that I have toward technology are the same feelings that I experience when making bread. When you work with yeast, you’re working with a living thing. It doesn’t always cooperate like you want it to. Enter frustration. However, when it does work, I’m always surprised that I was able to do it. I’ve made bread dozens of times and it never ceases to be rewarding.
Focaccia is both one of the most delicious and most straight-forward yeast doughs to work with. This particular dough is made more chewy and delicious with the addition of crumbled bacon. I toss cherry tomatoes with a little garlic, fresh thyme, and red pepper flakes and scatter them over the dough before it bakes. Serve this focaccia warm out of the oven topped with peppery arugula leaves. Want an even more delicious way to enjoy this recipe? Slice a piece of focaccia in half horizontally, toast each side, smear with mayonnaise, and fill with lots of arugula. Double BLT for the win! Enjoy.
- 4 ounces bacon (2-3 slices), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (2 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- 2 cups baby arugula leaves
- Place bacon in a small skillet over medium heat; cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in 2 1/4 cups warm water (110°F.) Add flour and stir until well combined. Cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free area until bubbling and doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Add salt and bacon to dough and mix with the dough hook on low speed until loose and sticky, about 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix for 30 seconds. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Fold top half of dough down toward center and pat gently to deflate. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat. Continue to rotate dough, fold down, and pat to deflate until you have folded each side of dough. Repeat 5 more times. Gently transfer dough to an oiled bowl, folded-side down. Cover and let proof until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450°F with a pizza stone or baking sheet on the lower third rack; heat for at least 1 hour. In a small bowl, toss tomatoes with garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon oil. Drizzle remaining 1/3 cup oil over the surface of a 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet. Turn dough out onto baking sheet and, using oiled fingertips, press dough outward to reach edges. Scatter tomatoes over dough, pressing gently to adhere. Cover and let rest until puffy, about 45 minutes (press dough toward edges if it begins to shrink back.)
- Generously sprinkle dough with flaky salt. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until puffed and golden brown on top and bottom, 25 to 35 minutes. Carefully slide bread out of pan onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with more flaky salt. Let cool slightly; serve warm or at room temperature topped with arugula.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145-174