Salty Focaccia

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 1 3/4 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. Let sit approximately 15 minutes, or until frothy. Attach the dough hook, then mix in 5 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 cup olive oil. Knead approximately 5 minutes or until the dough appears smooth.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Clean out any additional dough from the mixer, then wipe the bowl with olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with wrap (I use beeswax cloths) and let sit in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Coat a full size cookie sheet with with 1/4 cup olive oil. Use a cookie sheet with walls. Put the dough ball into the pan and begin pressing to fit the pan. Brush an additional 1/4 cup olive oil over the top. Continue pressing the dough into the pan. Use your fingers to make dimples in the bread- flat focaccia is boring. Press it to the corners a couple more times over 30 minutes to get the dough to remain stretched. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup room temperature water and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. This is your brine. Pour brine over the dimpled dough and allow to rise for approximately 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450. While the oven is preheating, place another cookie sheet, upside down, on the rack. This will get nice and hot and work in lieu of a baking stone.

Just before putting the bread in the oven, sprinkle large grain salt over the top lightly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes with your dough-filled cookie sheet atop your inverted sheet. Check the bottom after 25 minutes and see if golden brown.

Remove from oven, brush with olive oil and let sit for about five minutes. The oil should absorb into those dimples.

Remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve warm.

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Cheesy Egg Drop Soup

Sometimes I end up with extra Parmesan cheese, and I almost always have eggs and chicken broth on hand. I use homemade chicken broth, but store-bought works just as well. The saltiness of the Parmesan cheese is a nice addition to traditional egg drop soup.

Begin with about 6 cups of broth and bring it to a low simmer.

In a measuring cup with a spout, whisk together 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon ground white pepper and 1/4 cup of finely minced parsley. Add to this egg mixture 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan. With the broth continuing to simmer, slowly stream this mixture into the broth in a slight serpentine pattern. This way, your eggs cook in ribbons instead of one big clump.

Consider adding some chicken or finely shredded carrots for extra flavor. Garnish with additional cheese or croutons.

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