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