Easy Onion Focaccia

For the bread:

3 3/4 to 4 1/4 cups flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup butter

For the topping:

1/4 cube butter
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

In a large electric mixer bowl, stir together 2 cups of flour and the yeast, sugar and salt. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine water and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 4 minutes, until butter is partially melted. Add warm water mixture to flour mixture. Beat at low speed to moisten flour. Increase speed to medium, beat 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl often, until smooth and elastic. By hand, stir in enough remaining flour until dough forms a ball and leaves the side of the bowl. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Grease a large bowl and add dough, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover loosely with plastic food wrap and let rise in a warm place until size doubles, 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare topping. Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, until onion is softened but not brown; set aside. Preheat oven to 375F. Punch down dough. Shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes. Place dough on a large, greased baking sheet. Press into a 12-inch circle. With floured fingers or handle of a wood spoon, poke dough every 1 to 2 inches with 1/2 inch deep indentations. Spoon onion mixture evenly on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from baking sheet. Serve warm or cool.