Santa Barbara Olive Focaccia with Baked Goat Cheese

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 40 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 30 min
  • Cook: 50 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

1 1/4 cups warm water

1 envelope active dry yeast

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 9 ounces

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons bread flour, 9 ounces

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing

1/2 cup pitted and chopped green picholine olives, 3 ounces

8 ounces olive oil

12 cloves garlic

12 ounces goat cheese

12 nicoise olives, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon chopped chives, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and yeast until dissolved. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, blend the flours and salt. With the mixer running on low, pour in the yeast and water mixture. Mix for 1 minute, then add in the honey and olive oil. Once the dough comes together, add the olives. Mix until the olives are just incorporated.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic, 2 to 3 minutes. Put the dough on an oiled 13 by 9-inch baking sheet, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
  4. While the dough is rising, heat the 8 ounces of olive oil and garlic cloves in a small skillet over low heat. Simmer until the garlic is golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Divide the goat cheese between 6 small oven-proof bowls or ramekins. Divide the garlic, olive oil and nicoise olives between the bowls. Set aside.
  7. When the focaccia dough has risen, press the dough down with your fingertips until it fills the baking sheet, then brush with olive oil. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped, about 45 to 50 minutes. Add the goat cheese bowls to the oven during the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking time. Bake until the cheese is warm and lightly browned.
  8. Slice the focaccia into thick wedges and serve 2 slices of warm focaccia with each bowl of warm goat cheese. Garnish the baked cheese with chives and serve.