Baking, Breads, Italian
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The Unfinished Manuscript – Focaccia

If you didn’t read about how this all came about – go back and catch up at the beginning of the story HERE.

* * *

Thinking I’d go for something in the beginning of the manuscript, and something tasty and easy – I picked the “Focaccia al Rosmarino” (Focaccia with Rosemary) as the first test of the manuscript’s abilities.

Meh… the flatbread was tough, chewy in the center, and not terribly flavorful. The main problem with the recipe is the author has you rolling the dough – in her words – like a pizza. The thing is you never want to roll pizza dough, let along – focaccia dough. You want to pull and stretch it.  This keeps the gas pockets from the yeast high and airy which keeps the dough from being all compacted making flatbread tender, crisp and delicious.

so… No Rolling… forgedaboutit!

The other issue was the blandness. Bread needs seasoning. And, bread that doesn’t include much sugar, or dairy,  or egg in the mix is going to need salt… and a lot of it.

Focaccia

Focaccia 2

For the Dough:

2 2/3 Cups Bread Flour

1 Tablespoon Dry Active Yeast

1 Teaspoon Sorghum Syrup (or use Barley Syrup – you’re after a certain amount of muskiness and either will do it for you. Use Molasses as a last resort.)

2 Tablespoons Full Bodied Olive Oil

3/4  +/- Cup Very Warm Water

For the Wash:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Water

1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (yes, 2 salts)

Jar With Lid

Toppings:

1 Cup Roasted Tomatoes – canned are fine, just drain well and blot on paper towels

1 Tablespoon Chopped Rosemary

1/2 Cup Chopped Mixed Olives (Ripe and Green)

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Tools you’ll Need:

1/2 Sheet Pan

Stand Mixer with Dough Hook

Bowl

Wet Towel

Cooking Spray

In the stand mixer – mix together the yeast, water, syrup and let sit for 5 minutes

Add the flour and oil and set the mixer for 5 minutes on medium

Add the first salt and knead for 15 minutes

Knead in the mixer until the dough is smooth, elastic and lightly sticky.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes

Dough 1

Spray the sheet pan with oil, and stretch the dough into a rough rectangle to fill the sheet pan

Fold the dough into thirds, cover and allow to rise for 1.5 hours

Dough 2

Once the first rise has completed, carefully stretch the dough out again to fill the sheet pan, and sprinkle the top with sea salt. Cover and allow to rise another 30 minutes

Focaccia 1

Dust flour on your fingertips and push deep random dimples across the entire surface of the dough. Mix the wash of oil and water together in a jar. Seal and shake vigorously to mix well. Drizzle the wash into each of the dimples and sprinkle any remaining over the top of the focaccia. Sprinkle with more sea salt

Top with the listed toppings or add your own personal favorites. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.

focaccia 3

Preheat the oven to 400 and bake the focaccia uncovered on the lowest rack for 20 to 25 minutes – or until the  bread is lightly golden in color.

Cut into rectangles and serve while still warm

Focaccia 4

4 Comments

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