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Homemade Focaccia with Coffee-Pepper Dipping Sauce

Focaccia with Coffee-Pepper Dipping Oil

You know how when you go to a nice, often Italian restaurant, they pour a little something into a shallow bowl for you to dip your bread into? This recipe is an enhanced version of one of those dipping sauces, the slight bitterness of the coffee making it especially perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon. And while it’s not imperative that you bake homemade focaccia to go with the sauce—you can buy focaccia in the bakery department at many major supermarkets these days—it’s quite easy to make. There’s nothing like fresh bread, still warm from the oven, and a glass of wine to celebrate it.

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Dish Type bread
Cooking Style Baking
Seasonal autumn, Valentine's Day, winter
Ingredient coffee, Focaccia
Servings 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

For the Coffee-Pepper Dipping Oil

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground unflavored coffee beans*
  • 2 tso coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

For the Focaccia

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast divided
  • 2 3/4 plus 2/3 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil divided, plus more for the bowl and baking sheet
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt divided

Instructions

For the Coffee-Pepper Dipping Oil

  1. Half of a 9 x 12-inch loaf focaccia bread, homemade (recipe follows) or store-bought, for serving
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, coffee, and pepper.
  3. When the mixture is almost at a simmer, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Set aside to steep for 10 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the soy sauce and mustard. (You can prepare the dipping sauce up to 2 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before serving.)
  6. Cut the focaccia into about 1 x 4 1/2-inch strips.
  7. Serve the dipping sauce in shallow bowls on the side.

For the Focaccia

  1. Place 1/2 cup of warm water (118°F to 120°F) in a medium bowl. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the yeast on top of the water and set aside for 15 minutes (the mixture might not get foamy).
  2. Stir in 2/3 cup of the flour.
  3. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  4. Place 2 tablespoons of warm water (118°F to 120°F) in the bowl of an electric mixer that has a dough hook attachment.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of yeast on top of the water and set aside for 15 minutes (the mixture might not get foamy).
  6. Add the flour mixture, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the salt, and 2/3 cup of cool water to the mixer bowl and stir lightly.
  7. Add the remaining 2 3/4 cup flour and use a dough hook to mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes.
  8. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Mix again on medium-low for 4 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky.
  10. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, rolling it to coat.
  11. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate it overnight. (You can prepare the dough in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
  12. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
  13. Place the dough on the baking sheet and gently coax it into about an 8 x 10-inch rectangle.
  14. Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and set it aside at room temperature until it expands to about 9 x 12 inches and is about 1 1/2 inches tall, about 2 hours.
  15. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  16. Uncover the dough and use your fingertips to deeply dimple it.
  17. Drizzle the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then sprinkle it with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  18. Bake the focaccia until nicely browned, 25 to 30 minutes.
  19. Transfer the baking pan with the focaccia to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  20. Remove the focaccia from the baking pan and return it to the wire rack to cool completely. (You can prepare the focaccia in advance, storing it covered in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature before serving.)

Notes

*Note: If you don’t keep coarsely ground coffee beans on hand—or whole beans and a coffee grinder—just buy a tiny amount of whole beans, then use a mortar and pestle or the end of a wooden spoon to crush them to a coarse grind.