I have been trying to get the hang of making bread for awhile now. I have made several disastrous loaves of buttermilk bread. I have made olive loaves and pepperoni loaves. All of my breads have been…. okay. I want more than okay. I have made buttermilk break that would break a window. Some loaves were doughy in the middle. Some looked awful. Some tasted awful. I am not one to throw in the towel. I finally did it. The stars aligned, and I made a focaccia bread which ending up being the best bread I have ever made!
My brother bought me a new cookbook for Christmas called Eating Italy by Jeffrey Michaud. I have been making my way through the cookbook. I had one request to make his Focaccia Bread with Pancetta and Taleggio. The following recipe is an adaption of Jeffrey Michaud’s recipe.
I used all purpose flour, water, and active dry yeast to make my dough. I mixed my ingredients with my mixer and a dough hook. Typically, I knead the dough with my hands, but I decided this time to use the dough hook and mixer. It worked fantastic. Another issue with which I have always struggled is my dough rising. First, it is a cold winter day. Second, my children and I are extremely hot natured. There is never a “warm” spot in my house. I set my oven on the Warm setting, and I propped open the oven door. I then placed the dough on top of the stove near the edge. The dough rises perfectly in this situation.
After several rotations of punching down and allowing the dough to rise, cut the dough in half. The first half, press out flat on a 11 x 14 oiled cooking sheet about 1/4 inch thick. Roll this half up and set aside. Press out the second half in the same manner. Once I had the second half of the dough pressed in the cookie sheet, I sprinkled a layer of freshly grated parmesan reggiano. Next, I sprinkled about 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning on top of the cheese. Then place a single layer of thinly sliced prosciutto on top of the dough. Finally, roll the first half of the dough across the prosciutto and press the edges together with the bottom layer of dough. Drizzle the bread with olive oil then sprinkle top with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Bake in 500 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. I then let the cookie sheet cool on a wire cookie rack.
The bread is best served warm. I loved everything about this bread. My edges came out a little hard and toward the edges my filling was a little skimpy. The middle of the bread was outstanding. On my first couple of attempts making bread, we would always eat a little bit then end up tossing it. This bread was completely gone in two days. OSuccess! Definitely try at home.
Prosciutto & Parmesan Focaccia Bread
adapted from Jeffrey Michaud’s Focaccia Stuffed with Taleggio and Pancetta
2 1/2 teaspoons of active fast rising yeast
3 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups of freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
6 ounces of thinly sliced Prosciutto
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of cracked pepper
Place yeast in a medium mixing bowl. Pour 1 1/3 cups of warm water in the bowl with yeast. Let set until foamy about 5 minutes. Add the flour. Using a hand mixer with a dough hook, mix on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Switch to medium speed, add salt and olive oil. Mix dough until smooth and silky, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl and let dough rise somewhere warm about 1 hour until dough is doubled.
Oil a 11 x 14 cookie sheet. Punch down dough and place on oiled pan. Fold dough over in thirds and let rise for another 30 minutes. Again, punch down dough and fold dough over in thirds. Let rise for another 30 minutes.
Cut dough in half and press one half onto the cookie sheet about 1/4 inch thick. Roll up pressed half and set aside. Re-oil the pan and press the other half into the cookie sheet in the same manner. Scatter the parmesan over the dough. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the cheese. Layer with the prosciutto. Leave about 1/4 inch border. Unroll the other half of the dough over the top of the prosciutto. Let rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat over to 500 degrees. Drizzle dough with olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt and cracked pepper over the top of the dough. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cookie sheet cool on wire rack. Serve warm.