Homemade Focaccia Bread {filled with mozzarella, parmesan, arugula & basil}

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Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread. The store-bought variety never even comes close, and you miss out on filling your kitchen with warm, cozy, doughy smells. Fortunately, making your own bread at home requires very little in the way of special skills. Time is the only requisite for baking your own bread at home, but if you’re puttering around the house for an afternoon, it’s hardly an imposition to make this recipe. The results are well worth the wait. This recipe doubles down on the goodness, layering melty mozzarella, sharp parmesan, peppery arugula, and bright basil between layers of golden brown dough. This recipe yields two large loaves, making it perfect for sharing. You can also easily freeze whatever you don’t eat, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil, to be reheated easily in your oven whenever the mood strikes.

Yield: two large focaccia loaves

Time: Active 20 minutes, Inactive: 2 hours

Dough Ingredients:

  • 8 cups bread flour
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 3 packets (7 g each) dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, yeast, and sea salt. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the water in a steady stream, letting it incorporate.
  2. Let the mixer knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball, then take the dough out and knead it on a floured surface for 4-6 minutes, until it feels smooth and elastic.
  3. Wash out the mixer bowl with hot water, and place the dough in the bowl, covering the surface with plastic wrap, then wrapping the whole thing in a dishtowel.
  4. Let the dough rise in a warm place (on top of the furnace works well, or close to a radiator) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until nearly doubled in size.
  5. Punch the dough down, then take the dough out and divide it into two equal pieces. Put each piece on a baking sheet, and stretch it into an oblong shape (keeping in mind you’ll be folding the dough in half over itself with the filling inside).

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 handfuls fresh arugula
  • 1 small handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Once you’ve rolled out your dough on your baking sheets, fill one half of each piece of dough with the cheese, arugula, and basil. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle over some salt and pepper.
  3. Fold the empty half of the dough over all the fillings, and crimp the edges like sealing a calzone, tucking and rolling the edges under themselves. Alternatively, you can just crimp the edges shut with the tines of a fork.
  4. Let the dough rise again for 30 minutes, then rub the top with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle over a bit of sea salt and some torn up basil leaves if you like.
  5. Bake both baking sheets for 25-30 minutes, until the bread turns golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped. Let the bread rest for 10 minutes, then dig in and enjoy! Serve with additional olive oil for dipping if you want to be extra decadent.

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Recipe inspired by Jaime Oliver.

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