Zucchini Focaccia Bread

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By Francesca Patterson

Focaccia is a simple Italian style pan bread. It’s known for having flavors of olive oil and sea salt and is used for sandwiches, pizzas, or an appetizer. Once you try this out, you will understand why this bread is a favorite for bakers of all levels. It is traditionally vegan, easy to make, and this is a great base recipe to add whatever toppings you like to it.

Focaccia is so special and dear to me; I have been waiting for the right time to post my version of it. Now seemed appropriate with all the new breadmakers that the quarantine created. I am so excited to share this because it has been tried & tested countless times in my household. I have so many memories of standing by my mom’s side as she pours the olive oil and kneads the dough, always wondering in awe if I could ever do it the way she does. There are some other memories of this focaccia causing a few fights. Whenever my mom would make this, my brother and I would spitefully hide the last pieces from each other. We were very picky eaters, and this was our established favorite. It wasn’t until my mom told us that she makes this delicious bread with green zucchini. The green zucchini in this is what makes this recipe so good. It gives moisture and a hearty flavor to the dough. If you have been wanting to try your hand at baking or just need an easy go-to bread, this is it! Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • Sea salt
  • 3 cups zucchini (grated, about 2-3 zucchini)
  • olive oil
  • 1 packet (1 tbsp) dry active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)

Directions:

  1. In a colander, add salt to the grated zucchini and allow to drain for about 3o minutes. Squeeze excess moisture out with a cloth or paper towel.
  2. Pour your warm water into a bowl with your yeast, stir until foamy and let it sit for 5 minutes. Make sure the water is not too hot, so it does not deactivate the yeast. This step is to bloom the yeast.
  3. In a food processor, combine the flours and drained zucchini. Pulse this a few times to mix them. Then, with the motor running in the food processor, add in the water/yeast mixture along with 3 tablespoons of oil. Pulse these until these are combined. Take this dough out of the food processor and knead with your hands on a floured surface. Add in small amounts of flour at a time and knead until the dough is firm and sticky but not too dry.
  4. Spread olive oil in a large bowl and lightly coat your dough ball. Place the dough in the bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap or tightly with a towel. Let rise for 1 hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
  5. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and prepare a large, thin-walled baking dish or two medium-sized pizza sheet pans with a generous brush of olive oil.
  6. Gently stretch the dough across the pan and dimple the top of it with your fingers. Cover again and set to rise for another 30 minutes.
  7. Brush the top of your focaccia with more olive oil, sea salt, and whatever toppings you decide to use. I used cherry tomatoes from my garden, so this was the step when I pressed them into the top of the dough. Sprinkle oregano on top and bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy served hot or cold.

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