Fill your home with the cozy aroma of baking bread with Tal Ronen's Fresh-Baked Focaccia with caramelized onions recipe.
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cups plus 1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
I tablespoon Earth Balance
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary needles
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour the warm water over the sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit without stirring for 15 minutes so the yeast can activate (it should appear bubbly on the surface). If it does not bubble, the yeast is not viable; start again with new yeast.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour and 1 tablespoon salt. Add the flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time, and the 1/3 cup oil, a spoonful or two at a time, to the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or mix on low speed to combine.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes (or continue to knead on low speed in the mixer for 10 minutes), or until a firm, smooth dough forms. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning over to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/4 hours.
- Meanwhile, place a sauté pan over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and the Earth Balance and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect. Add the onions to the pan and sauté, stirring frequently until very soft and browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush or spray the parchment with oil. Turn the dough out onto the parchment and pull and stretch it with your hands to fill the pan. The dough should stretch to the edges of the pan and be about 1/4 inch thick. Use your fingertips to make dimples all over the dough, about 1 inch apart. Do not otherwise press the dough. Let rise, covered, for another 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the red pepper flakes, rosemary, 2 teaspoons salt, and the black pepper. Brush the top of the dough with the oil mixture. Bake for 7 minutes, then rotate the pan front to back, spread the onions over the top, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and crusty. Remove the dough to a cutting board, let cool for at least 10 minutes, then cut into squares.
Makes 1 large loaf; 6 to 8 servings
Prep time: 2 hours (some unattended), plus 1 1/2 hours rising.