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Make this focaccia your way

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

Like pizza and hamburgers, focaccia can be pretty much anything you want it to be. So we’ve given you a basic dough to get you going. What you do after that is up to you.

But before you pile it on, consider that sometimes simple is best. It is hard to beat a focaccia topped with nothing more than enough olive oil to pool into the little dimples in the dough, coarse salt and a sprinkling of fresh rosemary.

For a still simple, but more pizza-like approach, top it with thinly sliced tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, rosemary and olive oil. Or ditch the feta, bake it with just the tomatoes, then top it with shaved Parmesan as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Other awesome toppings to consider: thinly sliced red onions, roasted red pepper, Kalamata olives, caramelized onions, shaved zucchini and chopped prosciutto.

Have-It-Your-Way Focaccia

Start to finish: 2 hours (15 minutes active)

Servings: 10

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1-1/4 cups warm (105 degrees F.) water

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, water, 1/3 cup of the olive oil, salt, flour and the rosemary. Mix on the lowest speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-low and mix for 2 minutes.

The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but clear the sides. If not, add a bit more flour. The dough should be very soft and just slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Oil a baking sheet, then transfer the dough to it. With oiled hands, pat the dough out into an oval about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with a towel about and let rise until puffy, about another 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread your choice of toppings over the surface of the focaccia. Use your fingers to dimple the surface lightly, then drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until lightly golden and puffed. Let cool slightly before cutting.

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