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Friday, October 5, 2007

Tender Focaccia

I made this bread the other night to go with my short ribs and then served it with the chicken soup the following night. It's a good recipe and turned out well for me. I am not the best at baking, I'm more of an "eye it" type of cook, and baking requires such precise measurements and all. This is one area that I plan to work on, because I do love baked goods. The recipe comes from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. I topped my focaccia with truffle salt and chopped fresh rosemary.
Tender Focaccia
2 cups boiling water
3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup potato flour or 1/3 cup potato flakes
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus 2 to3 Tbsp. to grease pan and dough surface
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, sea salt or Fleur de Sel for topping
Put hot water and 2 cups flour in a large bowl and beat for several minutes to develop a smooth batter. If you have time, add 1/8 tsp. yeast once batter has cooled to lukewarm, and set the sponge aside for several hours or overnight; this helps develop flavor in the finished loaf, as well as the soft interior texture.
Whisk the potato flour with remaining flour, dry milk, yeast and salt. Add this to batter a little at a time, while continuing to beat. Add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Beat, with the paddle attachment of a mixer set at medium speed, for 8 to 10 minutes, changing to a dough hook when the dough begins to hold together.
After the dough has become smooth and shiny, put it in an oiled bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and let it rise for 30 minutes. The dough should increase by about one third and be puffy looking. Don't punch it down, but pull the sides of the dough up and over in a folding motion. Do this several times to release some gas, then let the dough rise another 30 minutes.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 12 or 14 inch round pan. Place the dough on the pan, gently stretching it to fit. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then stretch it out a little more.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Just before baking, dimple it with your fingers, brush it with a little oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh herbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's deep brown all over.

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