I am learning that much like golfing (one of my favorite hobbies), the more you practice gluten-free baking, the better you get and the more you understand the rules of the ¨game¨. Since I am a high school foods teacher, I am used to altering recipes and problem solving when necessary. However, I feel as if gluten-free baking breaks all the rules I have learned about purpose of ingredients - it simply isn't the same. BUT, I am learning and trying to get better at it.
With my holiday baking turning out worse that I had desired, I wanted to try another baking adventure and attempt to redeem myself. I researched several recipes for focaccia bread and found that the recipes varied, greatly. I decided to put some things together using the little that I now know about gluten-free baking - PRAYING that something would turn out to raise my baking confidence.
Any chance that I get, I am trying to sneak olives into things. I LOVE green olives and I am even starting to appreciate black olives so why not try for an Olive Focaccia Bread? Ladies and gents, I feel as if I just got lucky with this one. THIS BREAD is so delicious and it was very difficult to stick to eating only a couple slices. No butter or spread necessary. Recipe listed below!
Gluten-free Olive Focaccia Bread
2 ¼ cups gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon xantham gum
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons active, dry yeast (1 packet)
1 ½ cups whipping cream, lukewarm
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup shredded Italian cheese (you can mix freshly grated parmesan, romano, mozzarella, etc. if desired)
2.25 ounce can black olives, drained and chopped
½ of a 6 ounce jar green olives with pimentos, drained and chopped (the olives should equal around 1 cup chopped. Take out ⅓ cup of the mixture and set aside for topping)
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
Measure together flour, baking powder, salt, xantham gum, and sugar into a bowl. Mix together and set aside.
In another bowl, combine yeast, lukewarm whipping cream, and olive oil. Using a stand or electric mixer, stir in 1 cup of flour mixture until well mixed and lumps are limited (about 1 minute in mixer on low). Let sit for 30 minutes.
While yeast is activating, mix cheese, ⅔ cups of chopped olives, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 2 - 9 inch round pans with parchment paper. (I have found that using a dark pan allows the sides to get a nice golden brown color. If you use a lighter colored pan, add on around 3 minutes to baking time)
Once the dough mixture has sat for 30 minutes, add in remaining flour and egg. Using your stand or electric mixer again, stir together for about 2 minutes on low. Your dough should almost look like a cookie dough - not a standard bread dough.
Add in your cheese and olive mixture and mix for 1 more minute.
Divide your dough and lightly press half of the dough in each 9 inch round. Using your ⅓ cup olives you've set aside, sprinkle tops of dough. Lightly press down into dough prior to baking.
Let dough sit in the rounds for around 30 minutes again before baking.
After dough is set, bake rounds for 25-28 minutes or until bread springs back when pressed.
Immediately take breads out of pan and let cool on a cooling rack.