Italian Herb and Sea Salt Focaccia Bread

This bread is just divine. I love the chewy texture, the infusion of herbs and the crisp and flakey golden top. It’s delicious when paired with your favorite pasta dish (a few of my favorites are here, here and here), or I like to eat it dipped in marinara sauce. It reminds me of my poor college days at BYU when I would eat Pizza Hut breadsticks dipped in pizza sauce from the Cougareat food court almost every day for lunch. Except this tastes like 100 times better. And I’m not cramming for exams while stuffing my face.

1 C warm water
1/3 C olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 ¼ tsp salt
3 C flour
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Topping:
¼ C olive oil    
2 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced                  
½ C fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp fresh rosemary

Add yeast and sugar to warm water, set aside and let proof for 5-10 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt and Italian seasoning. Mix yeast and water mixture into the dry ingredients then add the olive oil. Knead together for about 5 minutes then add to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour. When the dough is double in size, evenly press dough into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Use your fingertips to make dimples in the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 min. While the dough is rising, heat olive oil in skillet, stir in oregano, rosemary and garlic then immediately remove from the heat. Spoon olive oil mixture evenly over dough and sprinkle with parmesan and sea salt. Bake at 400 for 20 min, or until lightly browned.

*Source: an old bread machine recipe book, not sure who the manufacturer was

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