Cheddar and black pepper skillet focaccia

cheddarfocaccia

A mild Pinterest addiction can really come in handy. My current hairstyle, our recently painted beet-red front door, the necklace I made and am wearing right now — all courtesy of ideas found on Pinterest.

Mostly I pin recipes.  One-Hour Skillet Focaccia, from CrunchyCreamySweet, was a big success. I’ve made it several times now. Each variation has been easy, delicious, and remarkably fast. I can’t quite make it in 60 minutes, but it’s not much more than that.

I’m always trying to make recipes healthier without sacrificing flavor. This bread needs the two tablespoons of olive oil in the dough; otherwise it’s dry. Since I was using cheese on top, I skipped the butter and used only a touch more oil to aid in browning. I also found that, for us at least, a bit more salt was welcome.

I’ve made this with parmesan instead of cheddar, and with a sprinkle of caramelized shallots atop. The black pepper adds a subtle heat, but can be left off. It’s wonderful warm out of the oven, but still great at room temperature. Like most homemade (and therefore preservative-free) breads, it’s best eaten the day it’s made. If you do manage to have leftovers, stale focaccia makes a mean strata.

This speedy version doesn’t have the chewy texture and dense crust of a traditional, slow-rise focaccia. The texture is light and slightly crumbly without being dry, and the crust has a delicate crunch. It’s a terrific accompaniment to stews and soups. (The Tomato-White Bean Soup with Chicken in the photo is an upcoming post.)

Crisp, cheesy, warm bread in just over an hour. What’s not to like?

Cheddar and Black Pepper Skillet Focaccia

adapted from CrunchyCreamySweet

3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about), divided
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
2 tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup grated sharp cheddar

Place the warm water, honey, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to dissolve. Let it sit for a few minutes while you measure the rest of your ingredients; it should start to foam up. Heat the oven to 220 degrees. Shut it off when it reaches temperature, but leave the oven door closed.

Add 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and the salt and mix at medium speed with the dough hook until well incorporated (about 2 minutes), scraping the sides now and then. Add 2 tbs. of the the oil and mix for another minute or so until it’s incorporated, then add the whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup of the remaining all-purpose flour. Mix on medium speed until all the flour is combined in; add more flour if necessary until the dough starts to pull away from the sides. Mix for 3-4 minutes longer until the dough is smooth. It will be soft and slightly sticky.

Lightly oil a 10- or 11-inch cast iron skillet. Stretch the dough into a disk (as if you were making pizza crust). Place it in the skillet and gently stretch again until the dough evenly covers the bottom of the pan and rises just slightly up the sides. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and place in the warmed oven for 20 minutes.

After the 20-minute rising period is over, take the pan out of the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Uncover your pan and gently spread the remaining teaspoon of oil evenly over the dough. Poke the tips of your fingers in the dough to create dimples. Sprinkle with the cheddar and a light dusting of black pepper (about 1/4 tsp.). Re-cover the pan until the oven reaches temperature.

Put the focaccia in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 425. Bake the focaccia, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the focaccia from the pan and cool on a rack.

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About Rivertree kitchen

I am a freelance editor with a specialty in cookbook editing. I've written two small cookbooks (50 Best Sundaes and 50 Best Cookies) and am currently finishing a collection of my own recipes from soup (Sweet Potato-Pear) to nuts (Spicy Almonds). Despite my immersion in recipes, my favorite way to cook is to see what's in the fridge and wing it. I live with my husband, son and dog in rural Wisconsin. Husband (Tom) and son (Luke) are talented cooks themselves; the dogs (Cleo and Libby) not so much. But they're young yet. All the photographs in this blog are my own creations. I'm a neophyte in the world of food photography (as if you couldn't tell), but I still claim blushing ownership of the pix you see here. If you want to reprint them (I can't imagine why), please give credit, if for no other reason than to pass on the blame.
This entry was posted in appetizers, baked goods, vegetarian (or easily adapted to) and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cheddar and black pepper skillet focaccia

  1. It looks fantastic! Thanks for trying the recipe!!

  2. Oh I just love this. Cheddar, black pepper, skillet….you got me! A fan of quick breads I am, as time is always of the essence. This just looks perfect and would be just fine with some black bean chili I am making.

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