I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like. And this Parmesan Black Pepper Focaccia has become a bit of an obsession ever since I started developing the recipe a few weeks ago. The first batch was too dense. The second batch tasted good, but was too wet. The third batch was getting close, but my OCD just couldn’t let it rest at that.
This morning I gave it a final go. Three bottles of olive oil and a 15-minute fire alarm scare later (apparently 450ºF is relatively warm), and the result was perfection in the form of a crunchy exterior and famously focaccia soft center. And soak it up my fellow cheese-o-holics, because this bad boy has an entire cup (and then some) of freshly shredded Parm.
Parmesan Black Pepper Focaccia
Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 min (includes proofing time)
Cook Time: 20 min
1 (¼ oz.) packet yeast
1½ cups warm water (approximately 110ºF)
3¼ cups All Purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup good quality Extra Virgin olive oil
1 cup, plus ¼ cup, shredded Parmesan cheese
1½ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the yeast and the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl.
Add the olive oil to the yeast, then add the flour mixture. Mix the dough on low speed until the wet and dry ingredients combine, then increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is soft, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides, then add the parmesan and black pepper and mix just until combined.
Grease a 13x9" baking pan.
Grease your hands with olive oil then transfer the dough to the prepared pan, using your hands to spread it out. Use your fingertips to make small indentations on the top of the dough then cover it with plastic wrap and let it proof in a warm, dry place (such as your dryer) for one hour, or until it doubles in size.
Bake the focaccia for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven, and sprinkle it with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and a final drizzle of olive oil. Return the pan to the oven and bake it an additional 2 minutes, just until the cheese melts.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the focaccia cool before slicing and serving.