Do you remember those rectangle cut pizzas from your elementary school cafeteria? I fondly remember Pizza Fridays. If I close my eyes I can still recall the ooey gooey mozzerella cheese, the oily pepperoni slices, the sweet tomato sauce, and all the jibber-jabber from the small cafeteria.
I love pizza, but everything is supposed to get better with age, right? So instead of making an ordinary pizza that I’ve made countless times, I wanted to make a more sophisticated and classy version. This focaccia pizza is pretty, smells wonderful, and is great for wine parties!
I incorporated grated parmesan cheese into the dough, making this foccacia super tasty. It kind of reminds me of a giant Cheez-it. I suggest eating this foccacia at room temperature. More of the flavors punch through at room temp. The crust is crunchy from the olive oil but the inside is soft and pillow-like.
A slice of this stuff goes much better with that nice glass of wine than that greasy rectangle pizza.
2 1/4 tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water, about 90-110 degrees F
pinch of granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup warm water
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tomato, sliced thin
kosher salt and black pepper, to season
1. Make the dough: Measure warm water in measuring cup. The water should be between 90-110 degrees F. That tis the optimal temperature for yeast. (Any hotter and you could kill the yeast, any colder and it may take forever for the yeast to activate. I use this kitchen thermometer. It’s my favorite! I use it for candy making, to check temps of meats, and taking internal temps of baked breads. It’s a kitchen must-have!)
I also add a little pinch of sugar in the yeast. This gives the yeast something to eat as it comes to life. Stir with a spoon to distribute yeast until mixture looks creamy. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast is activated. I like to use a measuring cup because you’ll be able to see the yeast mixture grow. As the photos above show, you start with 1/2 cup of mixture and after 10 minutes, the yeast mixture is now almost 1 cup.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, grated parmesan cheese, and salt. Pour in olive oil and water. Use a spatula to fold ingredients together.
3. When the dough has come together and looks like this shaggy mess, dump it out on a clean working surface. Use the heels of hands to knead the dough together until it becomes one cohesive mass.
4. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 15 minutes. Knead dough for 2-4 minutes until dough is smooth and a little tough. Place back in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 45-60 minutes until dough has doubled. Punch dough and roll back into a ball. Cover and let rest for anther 45-60 minutes. The dough will double again and it will look a lot smoother in texture.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking sheet with a little olive oil. Line with parchment paper. Remove dough from bowl and place on a clean working surface. Cover with a damp paper towel and let sit for 10 minutes.
6. Place dough on prepared baking sheet. Using your hands and fingers flatten dough and stretch it out to the size of the sheet tray. Poke your fingers all over the top of the dough to make little indents.
7. Drizzle 2 tsp of olive oil over dough. Smooth over top with your fingers. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of parmesan over oiled dough. Arrange thinly sliced tomatoes on top. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining 3 Tbsp of parmesan over tomatoes. Drizzle remaining 2 tsp olive oil over tomatoes.
8. Bake for 40-50 minutes until dough has risen and is a nice golden brown color. Check on dough after 30 minutes to make sure it isn’t browning too fast. If it is, lower temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Maryanne’s Chic Tip: Afraid of working with active dry yeast? Have no fear. Use a kitchen thermometer to ensure proper water temperature. It’s best to activate yeast in water that’s between 90-110 degrees F. If your water is too hot, you may kill the yeast. Another secret- add a pinch of sugar to the water-yeast mixture. The sugar gives the yeast food to come back to life!