Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flirting with Focaccia

Focaccia or olive oil bread is pretty much a staple in our house.
Focaccia and wheat bread are two of the things I remember my
papa baking since I was little. Even when we make pizza we
don't typically use regular pizza dough, we use focaccia dough
and it is down right fantastic. This Italian bread is close to
pizza though and often topped with all sorts of goodies.
I see onion, garlic, cheese most often.

There was a bakery not too long ago where I live that went out
of business and they had a line of different focaccias, yet they
were always doughy and gooey and you could never eat them
immediately. I would have to go home and rebake them before
they were normal focaccia texture.

This weekend I spent sometime flirting with our focaccia recipe
and I ended up splitting up each batch in to two little loaves
so I could have even more of a variety and here is what I came up with.

Flirty Focaccia

2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
pinch sugar
2 1/2 cups flour (I split bread flour and whole wheat, but its up to you)

special add-ins (measured per half batch)
3 cloves of soft roasted garlic
with 1/2 cup diced black olives and 3 tablespoons of rosemary
6 re-hydrated or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, oil, and sugar.
Slowly add in flour until just manageable. Dump out on to
a floured surface to knead. Knead dough at least five minutes,
until it develops an elastic-y feel. Now it should be soft and springy
yet heavy enough to hit someone one pretty good in the face.

Split! Divide into two smaller loaves (entirely optional)
add the garlic &c and knead a little longer, working in
until your loaves look nice and smooth. Nice buns.

Place in a bowl with a little more olive oil. Roll it around
a bit so it is coated well. Set aside in a warm spot to rise.
This will take about an hour or so, let it double. Go read a book.

Once your dough has doubled in size, punch it down.
Thats right, give it a good one. Then transfer to a pan or
whatever you're going to bake it on and flatten it out.
Drizzle on some more olive oil and cut some lines across.
Sprinkle gener
ously with sea salt and let rise again about 45 mins.

If adding toppings now if you wish.... tomatoes, basil, olives?
Bake for 20 minutes at 450F, keep an eye on it because we don't
want it getting too jaw breakingly crunchy.

This is a great recipe to double, triple, or quadruple. It freezes well
and like I said works great as a pizza crust. Sigh* Perfect Sandwich bread.

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