I've made focaccia bread before and shared it with you, too. I love that it is the kind of bread that is easy, delicious, and can be made ahead. This time I kept the beloved Italian features of olive oil and Parmesan cheese, but instead of herbs or grapes or other adornments, I celebrated citrus season with fresh Meyer lemon zest on top.
Because I needed to keep this bread for a number of days before I would be serving it, I froze it and then defrosted the loaf in the microwave on low power, then heated it at 225 degrees F. right before serving. It makes a deeply flavored, moist bread and doesn't need any additional oil or butter. The recipe actually makes two loaves, so you can keep one in your freezer for when you need a bit of Italian delight.
Fast Focaccia with Lemon Zest
1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toppings: olive oil, zest of 1-2 Meyer (or other) lemons, colored part only; Parmesan cheese, grated; sea salt (optional)
Mix the yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl. Let proof for 10 minutes (until bubbles begin to form).
In large bowl, stir together flour and salt.
Add the yeast mix and olive oil to the dry ingredients and combine.
When dough has pulled together, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Gather into a ball. With hands coated with olive oil, oil the surface of the dough ball. Turn the bowl over the dough ball. Let dough rise in a warm place for 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil into bottom of 9 or 10 inch diameter cake pan. Swirl to coat bottom and sides with the oil. Repeat with another 2 tablespoons olive oil in another pan.
Punch dough down. Divide dough in half. Place one piece of dough in each in oiled cake pan. Spread dough toward sides with your fingers, pushing fingers down into dough to create dimples or pockets.
Drizzle top of each pan with 1 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle with lemon zest and some Parmesan cheese or sea salt, if desired.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.