I purposely waited to post this until a Friday, because this isn't a week night meal, it's something for the weekends. It takes some time and patience. I think it's great if you're wanting to try something new. I've never made bread before, let alone stuffed bread, so I thought it would be a great learning experience for me, and it was! The main thing I learned is don't start cooking this when you're hungry, start about 3 hours before. :)
To start you're going to make the sponge. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl, and stir in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it's doubled and bubbly, around 45 minutes.
To make the dough, add yeast, water and olive oil to the sponge. You can use a kitchen aid mixer and with it running add just under three cups of flour and salt and mix thoroughly. I don't have a kitchen aid, so I just mixed everything by hand, and it worked out fine. The dough should come together in a ball in the bowl and it should be a little sticky. Keep mixing in a little flour at a time until the dough isn't real sticky anymore, but not dry. The dough should feel smooth and kind of like elastic, that's how you know it's done. Place the dough in a clean bowl that is drizzled with a little olive oil. Roll the dough to coat in the olive oil, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for around an hour and 15 minutes, or until the dough's doubled.
You can either start this step right after you set the dough aside to rise, or you can wait 45 minutes. If you do it right after, you can keep the stuffing at room temperature until the dough is ready. I used turkey sausage, and I wish I would have used ground turkey sausage, I think there would have been a little more taste, but either way it was good.
Slice up a large onion, so you have around two cups of onion.
Mince on habanero pepper. I've never cooked with these little peppers before, you can tell how spicy they are just by smelling them, but it was a great addition!
If you use ground turkey sausage, you'll need to brown and cook all the way through in a pan. Once finished, remove and drain any fat and then add 2 tablespoons olive oil and add onions and hot pepper, with salt and pepper to taste. I used pre-cooked sausage, so I began with cooking the onions and peppers. Cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes, until the onions are wilted. Add the minced garlic and cook for another two minutes.
Return or add the sausage to the pan. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Chop 1/2 cup parsley and grate 1/2 Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and mix together.
Add parsley and cheese mixture to the sausage and onion mixture and toss together. Let the stuffing stay at room temperature until the dough is ready.
Once dough has doubled, punch down and divide in half. In a 9 inch spring form pan that's been sprayed with non-stick press the dough in the bottom of the pan.
Try to evenly spread it as best as you can. Then spoon the stuffing mixture into the pan.
Stretch the other piece of dough into a disc and place on top of the stuffing. Place a clean towel over the bread and let rise in a warm place for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile, start preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Just before baking, dimple the dough with your fingers, leaving indentations. Drizzle with olive oil over the dough and brush lightly to coat. Sprinkle with salt and any other spices you like. I used oregano, ground pepper, and rosemary.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is deep golden brown.
Let sit in the pan for a few minutes, then un-mold. To serve, slice into wedges and eat like a sandwich. You will have food to feed around 10 people, no joke. I had leftovers that lasted for a while. I was happy with the result, for my first time attempting anything like this; I thought it was pretty tasty. Although I had to eat with a fork and knife because it was a little too large to just bite in like a normal sandwich. This would be great to make if you were having some people over for casual dinner, just make sure you block out a few hours to make it :)
Have a great weekend everyone!
Stuffed Focaccia Bread with Sausage and Onions
1/2 cup warm water (not hot)
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (fast acting, rapid rise, etc.)
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sponge you made above
3 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sausage (I used turkey sausage)
1 very large onion, sliced
1 habanero pepper, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper, rosemary, oregano *or whatever else you'd like to add
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl and stir in the flour.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled and bubbly, around 45 minutes.
Add the yeast, water and olive oil to the sponge from above.
Stir in just under three cups of flour and salt and mix thoroughly.
Dough should come together in a ball, and should be a little sticky.
Add flour until the dough isn't really sticky anymore, should be smooth and elastic like.
Place the dough in a clean bowl drizzled with olive oil, and coat dough with olive oil.
Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, for around an hour and 15 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large skillet brown sausage until cooked thoroughly, then remove from pan.
In same pan add two tablespoons olive oil, onions and pepper with salt and ground pepper.
Cook over medium heat for around 10 minutes until onions are wilted.
Add garlic and cook for another two minutes.
Return sausage to pan, remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Add parsley and cheese and toss together.
Let stuffing stay at room temperature until dough is ready.
Punch dough down, and divide in half.
Lightly oil or spray 9 inch spring form pan.
Stretch half of the dough into a disc and place in the bottom of the pan.
Spoon stuffing mixture into pan.
Stretch the other piece of dough into a disc and place on top of the stuffing.
Place a clean towel over the bread and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Just before baking, dimple the dough with your fingers leaving indentations.
Drizzle olive oil over dough and brush to coat.
Sprinkle with salt and any other topping spices you wish.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is deep golden brown.
To serve, slice into wedges and eat like a sandwich.