Herb and mushroom focaccia

So this recipe was actually inspired by a dinner I had at Etta in Culver City. Originally from Chicago, Etta is a modern Italian restaurant that features a lot of upscale versions of Italian classics, namely pizzas, pastas, and bread. The focaccia I had there was super pillowy and light, while speckled with tons of herbs, and that’s what I wanted to do with my own! For this recipe, we have a yeasted bread dough made with plenty of olive oil and herbs, finished with grated parmesan cheese and roasted maitake mushrooms. I wanted the bread to be served, almost like a flatbread, so that it could be eaten on its own as a dish, but also as a side to something else, if your stomach calls for that!

For the herbs, I went with sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. The sage adds an earthy quality to the bread that is non-traditional in a focaccia, but plays off the mushrooms nicely. I also went with thyme, which pairs well with the mushrooms, rosemary, which is traditional in a focaccia, and oregano, which plays off the cheese and garlic to act almost like a pizza. I baked off the bread in a nonstick pan, but any ovenproof pan will work as well!

For the dough:
1/4 cup lukewarm(110 degrees F) water
2 dried porcini mushrooms, preferably crushed into a powder or at least minced finely
1 packet active-dry yeast(2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of salt

Mix the water, mushrooms, yeast, and sugar together first. Allow that to sit for at least 10 minutes in a warm place. Then mix in the other ingredients, kneading to form a dough. Let the dough sit, covered in a warm place, for another hour.

For the herbs and aromatics:
8 sage leaves, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp calabrian chilies*(only include if you want a little spice)

Mix all of the aromatics into the olive oil.

For finishing:
Herb and aromatic oil
2oz maitake mushrooms
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Start by pressing the dough into a pan that is lined with a thin layer of olive oil. Pour onto your dough the herb and aromatic oil. Spread over that the mushrooms. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then grate the cheese on top and re-bake for another 5 minutes to finish. Serve while still warm for an optimal focaccia-eating experience!

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