Monday, February 03, 2014

Rosemary and Romano Focaccia

My husband was keen on this Italian culinary quest because it meant exploring some fun breads. He really enjoys making breads. I am thankful for this, because I have no real desire to dive into that realm. But as a culinary team we cover more ground. Winning!

So. We looked at a number of focaccia recipes, and the ones we found you had to let it sit overnight or all kinds of crazy long times. While we may likely have that kind of time if we planned ahead for it, the 4 hours we had allotted for our cooking extravaganza one Saturday was not sufficient. 


But. He dug out his amazing and incredible cookbook- The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg and found a focaccia recipe that would work well for us. This is a mammoth cookbook, by far the largest on our shelf, and it seems to serve my technical and detail-oriented baker of a husband well. Let's just say that this is not a cookbook that has pictures.

Right. So because I was also occupied in the kitchen making minestrone, and we may have had one or two other cooking/baking projects going at the same time, neither of us managed to get too many pictures of this creation. But I mean. It's bread. And it's brown. And the vast majority of the time it just looks like a ball of brown dough. Not so interesting. 

Anyhow. Here are a few.

Before going into the oven:

After coming out of the oven:

Now you see why I only took two. This was a tasty recipe, I'd say it was a rather successful first go at focaccia. 

The original recipe:

1 1/2 oz fresh compressed yeast (3/4 oz dry active yeast)
3/4 C warm water
1 TBS granulated sugar
8 oz high-gluten flour

2 C warm water
3.4 C olive oil
3 oz granulated sugar
2 TBS salt
1 lb high gluten flour
14 oz bread flour
1/4 C olive oil

Herbed garlic oil (1 oz each fresh rosemary, fresh sage and fresh basil; 1 C olive oil heated, 2 heads garlic, roasted and pureed)
1 ts kosher salt

Sponge: dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar and high gluten flour, knead using dough hook for 5 minutes. Cover, let rise till sponge starts to fall.

Dough: add warm water to sponge with olive oil, sugar, salt and high gluten flour. Knead with dough hook and add enough of bread flour for a soft, smooth, elastic dough. Form into ball on floured surface, cut X into dough and pull out to form a rough square. Cover and rest 30 minutes.

Coat bottom and sides of sheet pan with 1/4 C olive oil. Place dough in pan and with oiled hands stretch out dough to all sides of pan. Let rise till doubled.

Stretch dough again to cover entire pan and let rest for a couple minutes. Press fingertips into top to make dimples. Let rise till 1.5 times original size.

Spread herbed garlic oil over surface of dough and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place in preheated oven at 475 degrees F then reduce to 375 degrees F when pan is placed into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes

Herbed Garlic oil: chop herbs finely and add to heated olive oil with garlic. Let stand for 1 hour.

Our thoughts and notes: 

Rather than make the herbed garlic oil, Spencer used oil, rosemary, and romano cheese. 

This quantity makes a lot. Like two full baking sheets of focaccia. Which you may need, but you also may not. We ended up freezing about half of it. You might want to cut this recipe in half.

Focaccia is best when fresh and still warm out of the oven. Its "shelf life" is pretty short, so either freeze what you won't be able to eat within a day or two, or only make what you will eat quickly.

Try this as an accompaniment to a good hearty bowl of minestrone

Buon appetito! 

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