Asiago Sandwich Focaccia

CATEGORIES: Bread Loaves, Italian, Kate

You guys…fall is coming! Some of you might already be experiencing fall-ish weather, but it’s still, like, 104 degrees in the afternoon, so I’m just cranking up the air conditioner and burning fall candles and pretending. Living in a state of denial. It’s pretty much essential to my mental and emotional well-being.

One of my favorite things to do when the weather is not like the fiery breath of Mount Doom is bake bread. Rolls and French bread and breadsticks and whole wheat bread and Hunger Games rolls, but since the second half of last year just kind of fell into a black hole for me, I’ve got a lot of making up to do and one of my goals this year is to experiment with lots of different kinds of bread baking.

I’ve mentioned before that in college, I worked at a sandwich shop/bakery called Kneaders for a couple of years. Working there was, well, food service, which is always a delight. But the actual food itself was amazing. I think the last time I was in Utah, I ate there at least 3 times.

One of the things it’s known for is its cheesy focaccia bread that is a popular choice for their sandwiches. I couldn’t totally replicate it at home, but this is definitely a contender when the real deal is on the other side of the country.

If yeast breads give you anxiety (or if it’s been awhile since you’ve used yeast), check out our tips on how to work with yeast before you get started.

You’re going to need active dry yeast (I use bread machine yeast), warm water (my rule of thumb is a temperature that would be comfortable for a hot shower but not so hot that you would be uncomfortable washing your hair or face in), sugar, all-purpose white flour, salted butter, kosher salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and shredded Asiago cheese (or you could use one of those 3-cheese Italian blends that has Asiago, Romano, & Parmesan).

 

Add 1 tablespoon of sugar

and 2 tablespoons of yeast to 2 cups of warm water.

Stir to combine.

Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until light and frothy.

Place 4 cups of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk in the 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix in the melted butter. Add the yeast mixture

and mix until a sticky dough forms. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a smooth dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball in the center. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes.

When done kneading, cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

After one hour, lightly spray an 18×12″ pan with non-stick cooking spray. Punch down the dough

and press it into the pan (you can use a rolling pin to help make things smooth; start pressing in the middle and work your way out to the edges).

 

Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes.

While the dough is rising, heat the oven to 375. When the dough is done rising, g

ently brush the surface of the dough with olive oil. Using your fingers, gently press the dough to form dimples. Sprinkle with asiago cheese

and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top. If the cheese appears to be browning too fast, lightly lay a piece of aluminum foil over the bread while it’s baking.

To make into sandwich bread, cut the bread into 6″ squares. Slice each square in half lengthwise and lay the top layer cheese-side down. Place the sandwich fillings on the bottom half and then top with the cheesey top layer. Slice the sandwich in half at an angle, forming 2 triangular sandwiches.

If you just want to eat it (I totally get that), rip off pieces and dip in extra-virgin olive oil sprinkled with balsamic vinegar.

Makes 6 sandwich squares. Or a pan full of bread for eating (which would probably serve 12 people, unless one of them is pregnant or has a really awesome case of PMS.)

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33 comments

  1. You make me laugh. Seeing as how my PMS usually does scream for bread, I do appreciate this recipe. 😉 I’ll try this out, PMS or not. Thanks!

  2. I know a lot of people really love fall, but to me it just means the pool is closing and I have to be responsible for more than just taking my kiddos to the pool for as long as we want to every day. Maybe this bread would be good consolation.

  3. Oh yum. I foresee one very happy husband in my near future. Thanks for the recipe… Now help me figure out how to replicate Kneaders French Toast. *drool*

  4. I’m with you, Kate. I live in Phoenix where the hot, icky, weather takes forever to cool down. We’re talking seeing people doing Christmas shopping in shorts and flip flops. NOT NATURAL. So like only 173 days until I can truly burn a pumpkin candle. Love your blog and great recipes 🙂

  5. Yay, bread!:) I love making bread, talking about bread, smelling bread… Ya, it’s a problem!
    If, when you are on your bread making tangent this fall, you happen to come across the perfect pita bread recipe, there would be one very happy reader over here!

  6. Could I make this by hand? Meaning kneading without a stand mixer? I’d love to give it a shot, but don’t have that piece of kitchen gadgetry.

    1. Absolutely! I just haven’t done it that way. My only caution with making bread by hand is that it’s easy to add too much flour because your hands are all sticky in there, so it seems natural to add more. Just be patient and if it STILL needs a little flour near the end, go for it. 🙂

  7. I made this last night for lunch today. YUM! It tasted better today than it did fresh, the flavors had come together so much better after sitting overnight. Awesome recipe, thank you!!!

  8. Thanks to Pinterest, I stumbled upon this post. I LOVE KNEADERS!!!! The turkey bacon avocado is my favorite! I live in Wyoming but have a ton of family in Utah so every time I’m down there I get to indulge. Thanks so much for this recipe! Do you happen to have a recipe for their sandwich spread??

    1. Yes!! If I remember right, it’s 2 parts mayo, 1 part sour cream, 1 part mustard. So a good at-home formula would be 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mustard. Hope that helps!

  9. I have made this too many times to count, and it always comes out perfectly! I’ve even changed it up with different toppings. LOVE it! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

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