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Bread Week, Day 2 -For Fun, Make This Light-As-Air Focaccia

For the second day of this all-bread week, I turn to a recipe I made recently for focaccia bread. I had purchased some Italian “00” flour from King Arthur Flour with the intent of trying my hand at making pasta, but then the whole kitchen renovation thing got started and I just never got to it. Now that the kitchen is done and I still have the flour I do still intend to make a go of homemade pasta, but first I tried the flour out in this focaccia recipe that King Arthur offers on the bag. If you have never had focaccia before, it is a flat-crusted, oven-baked bread that has a similar consistency to pizza dough and pizza crust. The primary difference between pizza dough and focaccia rests with the amount of yeast used. Pizza dough uses only a bit of yeast while focaccia uses more for a higher rise. I decided I wanted to give the bread a try out using the Italian-style flour to see how it would go.

King Arthur Flour Light-As-Air Focaccia

For the Dough:3 3/4 cups King Arthur Italian-Style Flour

3 3/4 cups King Arthur Italian-Style Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup plus 2 to 4 tablespoons water

For the Topping:

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt

Your favorite herbs (fresh or dry rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, etc.)

For the dough, mix together the Italian-style flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 1 cup of water and knead the dough briefly, for about 5 to 6 minutes, by hand or in the bowl of a stand mixer. If you’re using a bread machine, knead the dough for about 8 minutes. If you need the dough to be softer, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, to get the consistency you want. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold it over a few times to redistribute the growing yeast.

Place the dough on a lightly greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and pat the dough into a rectangle of about 10 inches by 15 inches. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle it lightly with salt and your favorite herbs. Cover the dough with a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Just before putting the dough in the oven, use your fingers to gently dimple the top of the dough, about every 2 inches. Bake the focaccia in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until it is golden brown. Remove the focaccia from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before cutting it into squares and serving.

The bread turns out perfectly, with a great rise and it has spectacular flavor. I used some dried Italian seasoning on top of the bread to give it some extra flavor and adding some good olive oil to the top works nicely. We all enjoyed the bread, and it can be great to use when you have a crowd over for a large dinner of spaghetti and meatballs or another Italian dish. I know some people use this as the crust for their pizza and I think it would work nicely for that as well. I have seen some people use it as a sandwich bread also. You could make this dough with all-purpose flour instead of the “00” flour, and I have seen recipes doing that, but this flour seems to lend itself nicely to the texture and feel of the bread.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Appetizers, Breads, Cooking, Dinner, Pasta, Pizza, Side Dishes

 

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A Fine Feast of Onion Focaccia

I was making chicken Parmesan last week for dinner one night (for which I will be posting the recipe tomorrow) and wanted to make some bread to go alongside of the meal but I wasn’t sure what I really felt like. I didn’t want something that was too labor intensive since I have been  pretty busy with work and the holidays and with Michelle traveling a lot recently, so I decided on this recipe I found on Williams-Sonoma for a basic onion focaccia. I have made focaccia from them before and the recipe turned out pretty well and this one seemed just as easy so i thought I would give it a try to see how everything came out.

Onion Focaccia

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing

1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

4 to 4 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let this stand at room temperature until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining water and sugar, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the table salt and 1 cup of the bread flour. Beat the mixture at medium speed until it is creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the bread flour and beat on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion and switch the mixture attachment to a dough hook.

On low-speed, beat in the remaining bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms and starts to pull away from the bowl. Knead the dough on low, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough sticks, until it is moist, soft and slightly sticky, about 6 minutes. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to stand for 20 minutes.

Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the prepared sheet and with oiled fingers press and flatten the dough into an oval about 1 inch thick. Cover the dough loosely with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise at room temperature until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

With your fingertips, make deep indentations, about 1 inch apart, all over the surface of the dough. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the dough. Cover the dough again loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise again at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Place a baking stone on the lowest oven rack and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the bread lightly with coarse salt. Place the pan on the stone and bake until the bottom of the bread is lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve the bread warm or at room temperature.

The focaccia went perfectly with the chicken and even though it does not seem like a lot of onion in the recipe the onion flavor really comes through in the bread. The dough rises quite a bit so I had a very large focaccia and ended up freezing some so we could have it at a later date. You could easily sprinkle a little cheese on top before you bake it if you wanted to go that route, but I think it turns out perfectly just the way it is and it makes an excellent addition to all kinds of Italian dishes.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Breads, Cooking, Side Dishes

 

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For a Fun Side, Try This Caramelized Onion Focaccia

Focaccia bread is one of the great additions to all kinds of meals or it can be perfect for you to use for sandwiches of all kinds. There are lots of different ways you can make it, from having a plain and simple bread to one loaded with all kinds of toppings. There are lots of different things I would like to try on focaccia but I was looking for something pretty simple to start with for my first time out giving this type of bread a try. I found this recipe on Williams-Sonoma’s website and the original recipe calls for a bacon, Gruyère and caramelized onion focaccia, so I decided just to go with the caramelized onions as a topping as I thought it would be a nice side for the pork dinner I was making that night anyway. It gave me a good starting recipe that if I liked I could use again as the basis for one with other toppings.

Caramelized Onion Focaccia

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons ) active dry yeast

2 teaspoons firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup warm water (110°F/43°C)

3 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar in the warm water. Let the mixture stand until it is foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and the salt. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it back into the bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

 Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron frying pan add 1 tablespoon of butter and melt it over medium heat. Add the onions and saute over medium-low heat until they start to wilt, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar and a pinch of salt and continue to cook until the onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove the onions from the heat and allow them to cool.

 Oil a rimmed baking sheet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dump the dough onto the prepared pan and press it into a rough rectangle. Using your fingers, stretch the dough into a rectangle about 10 by 14 inches Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until it is puffy, about 1 hour.

 Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Dimple the surface of the dough with your fingertips. Gently brush the dough with olive oil, then sprinkle the dough evenly with the onion mixture. Bake until the bread is golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cut the focaccia into squares and serve them while warm.

This bread is perfect as a side dish for any meal, or as an appetizer before the meal. If you want to add the cheese and bacon, add the Gruyère into mixture when you add the olive oil and salt when you are making the dough. The bacon can be added when you are sauteing the onions and added as a topping. You could certainly add some extra cheese as a topping as well if you wanted. I thought it was perfect with just the onions this time and it was great to use the squares for sandwiches later on for lunches.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Breads, Cooking

 

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