I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of homemade doughs. To conduct my fun experiments, I need flour so the husband indulged me by buying 20 pounds of my favorite flour, the double 00 grade. Doppio zero is a highly refined flour that is soft (like powder) and very high in protein, well-suited for making all types of bread. It’s used all over Italy but is specifically revered for making great Neapolitan-style pizza, the kind of pizza I grew up with, and the kind that I now make on my outdoor grill on many Summer nights.
This time around, I tried making homemade focaccia. The base recipe is from the folks who supplied my flour, the Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. I adjusted the toppings to take advantage of all the fresh herbs clogging up my garden. (Don’t let bread or focaccia recipes scare you. They’re fairly easy if you follow the steps, and really just require a little solid time.)
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup very warm water
- 3 to 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup cold water
- Extra olive oil, for brushing
- Chopped fresh herbs
Stir together yeast and sugar and add warm water. Cover for about 10 minutes. Yeast is active and okay to use if it foams and has that great “yeasty” smell. In a mixer bowl, stir flour and salt together. Add yeast and blend. Add oil, blend. Slowly and over all the flour mixture, add the cold water to stop yeast from rising. Mix with dough hook for about 3 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Add a little more water if the dough is dry or a little more flour if the dough is sticky.
Remove to a floured board and knead until smooth. Place in a deep grease bowl and cover with saran and a towel. Leave to rise in a warm draft free place for 1.5 hours. Remove from bowl. Punch down and stretch into greased 12 inch pizza pan. Let rest for about one hour, covered and kept warm.
When ready to bake, brush with olive oil and top with sea salt and finely chopped herbs. I used rosemary, oregano and thyme.