Herb & Cheese Focaccia Bread

Hi.  I’m Julie, and I’m a bread addict.

 

I can’t get enough of it.  Sourdough, French, Italian, artisan varieties, rolls, loafs, boules, baguettes, croutons, a bowl for my soup.  If it has bread – I want it.  This is why today’s recipe and giveaway is kind of the perfect marriage of my obsession and a great product.

 

USA-Header-Logo-FME-02

 

Gourmet Garden was another sponsor of Blended.  They asked me to try their products, and I think we all know how I feel about free foodie stuff at this point in my life.  It was a YES Yes yes!  More than just getting something for free, I had always been curious about the little tubes of herbs I had seen at the grocery store.

 

I have always used dried herbs, and only recently branched into fresh herbs as well.  This blog has a lot to do with the investment.  While I was all about using the fresh herbs, they never lasted very long.  The basil would wilt the day after I made my recipe, the sage would do pretty well, but in the end there was always way more of an herb than I could use quickly enough in those little pre-packaged plastic boxes.  The herb tubes had been a mystery to me.  Were they just mashed up herb paste that wouldn’t taste very good?  How much should I use?  Why would I buy the tube instead of fresh, it’s more expensive?

 

Totally valid questions, or at least I think so.  So here’s the skinny.  Gourmet Garden herbs and spices are simply washed, chopped, blended, and pack into fresh to maintain all the fresh flavor and nutrition of the herbs.  There herbs are not a paste,  more like wettish smashed herbs.  They taste just like fresh.  And it just so happens that most of Gourmet Garden’s products are gluten-free too.  You get a whole lots in each 4 ounce tube too!  All this works out to less the 20¢ per serving – totally not expensive.

  • Basil (and pretty much all the leaf herbs) – 3 bunches
  • Chili  Pepper – 5 chilies
  • Garlic – 23 cloves  {twenty-three people!}
  • Ginger – 21 pieces
  • Lemon Grass – 6 stalks

Tons of herbs to use.  Heck I’m even looking into Lemon Grass recipes since I’ve never bought it before.  Here’s my favorite thing abotu these herbs though, longevity.  Gourmet Garden herbs will stay fresh in the fridge for 3 months and last for 6 months past the “best before” date in the freezer – and they don’t freeze solid.  Winning!  Now I can put my poor little basil plant out of her misery.  She tried so hard not to die, but I made like one recipe with fresh basil since buying her and she’s really sad now that it’s winter.  Gourmet Garden herb tubes will be so more easier.

 

So how does this get us to bread?  I’m glad you asked.  When I try a product, I like to try it in a recipe that really highlights the product. No sense in trying something by masking it with other stuff.  I want to know if what I’m trying is really good or not.  I had dog earred almost every recipe in the cookbook I got from Jaime and I had been eyeing the Focaccia bread for a couple weeks now.  That was it.  I have awesome herbs, a craving for bread, and now there’s a dough hook on my stand mixer.  Let’s do this!

 

Herb & Cheese Focaccia 1

 

Herb & Cheese Focaccia Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10 to 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup warm water (no hotter than 110 degrees F)
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs, Basil, and Oregano {or the same amount of fresh chopped herbs}
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil {3 tablespoons plus ½ cup if using fresh chopped herbs}
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. In the stand mixer bowl, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast. Give a quick stir with a spoon, and then allow to sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, ½ cup herbs, 3 tablespoons oil, cheese, and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed for 5 to 10 minutes until well combined. The dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead for about 5 minutes. (Emeril said to knead for 10 minutes and I couldn't do it, but my bread came out fine.)
  3. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Roll the dough around a little so it's coated in the oil too. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1 hour to let the dough double in size. Punch down the dough and recover; allow dough to sit for an additional hour, to double in size.
  4. Line a baking sheet with a Sil-Pat. (Emeril uses parchment paper lining dusted with cornmeal.)
  5. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead it several times to form a ball. Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out to a 12" x 16" (or so) rectangle. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, and set aside. Allow dough to rise one last time for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  7. In a small bowl, combine remaining herbs with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Using your fingertips, dimple the top of the dough with indentations about ½" deep. Brush the dough with the herb/oil mixture, save a little for after baking. Sprinkle dough with Kosher salt. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet back to front. Bake for an additional 6 minutes, or until golden. Reomove bread from oven, brush with remaining herb/oil. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Herb & Cheese Focaccia 2

 

The bread came out amazing!  I will most likely use fresh grated Parmesan cheese next time to keep with the Italian flavor profile a little more, but the herbs were amazing in this recipe.  The entire time the dough was mixing I could smell the herbaceous freshness.  I’m using some big words today, I know.  I’m all excited people.

 

Gourmet Gardens

 

Now for some fun.  Gourmet Garden is totally awesome and is giving one of my readers the same product pack I got.  How cool?!?!  You’ll get a full size 4 ounce tube of all the herbs and spices pictured above in a handy dandy mini cooler.  Your food is about to get really really happy!  And just in case you need some new recipe ideas to make with all your Gourmet Garden goodies, check out the recipe page on their website.  It makes me hungry.

 

Giveaway open to US residents only, and runs from March 1st to March 5th.  Winner will have 48 hours to confirm prize receipt or a new winner will be chosen.  Prize distributed by Gourmet Garden directly; WLOW assumes no responsibility for prize package.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

This is a sponsored post.  

Product for review was provided by Gourmet Garden as compensation.  No monies were exchanged.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Comments

  1. says

    I love all breads also and the giveaway looks awesome, I am having one on my blog this week also, feel free to check it out.

  2. Anne says

    Thyme. I once lived in the country, near a cemetery that had more thyme than grass. Walking through there was fragrant, and I always came home with a handful of fresh thyme to cook with.

        • Jennai says

          I logged in to my friend’s account by accident — it’s Carolsue, the entry just above this one. She is not entering. My answer was “I guess I use more garlic than anything. I also like cilantro.”

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