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Cheese-and-Herb Stuffed Focaccia

No recipe image available.Filled with feta, mozzarella and fresh herbs, and topped with coarse salt and more fresh herbs, this yeasty homemade focaccia bread is sure to please.

Recipe Ingredients:

Dough:
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Filling:
1/2 cup (2-ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup (2-ounces) shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
1/3 cup snipped fresh herbs (ie: basil, oregano, Italian parsley and/or rosemary)

Topping:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons snipped fresh herbs
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Cooking Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine. Program for Dough or Manual, and press Start. (See Cook's Note.)
  2. Check dough during first kneading, adding a few drops of water at a time, if needed, and using a spatula to scrape sides of bread pan to help combine ingredients into a stiff dough.
  3. When Dough cycle is through, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Round each half into a loose ball, and allow the balls to rest, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the gluten in the dough to relax, which helps make the focaccia easier to shape.
  4. Roll one dough ball into a 10 to 12-inch circle. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Top with the filling ingredients evenly to about 1-inch from the edge. Roll the second dough ball into an equal-sized circle, then place it atop the filling. Press the edges of the dough together firmly to seal the two circles and fold under (if necessary) to ensure the seal.
  5. Cover the focaccia with a damp cloth or lightly floured plastic wrap. Allow the focaccia to rise for 45 minutes, or until puffy.
  6. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  7. Gently make indentions (dimples) in the focaccia with your fingers, brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse salt and rosemary.
  8. Bake the focaccia for 18 to 22 minutes, until it's golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 focaccia or 8 servings.

Filling Variations: Chopped roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, caramelized onions and roasted garlic.

Tip: No bread machine? Mix together all of the dough ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, then knead with your hands, an electric mixer with a dough hook, or use a food processor to form a smooth dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.