Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Focaccia...this one WORKS

After the pizza debacle, I wanted one of the recipes I go back to over and over. Instead, here's this one from StephenCooks, that I found last week and am currently in the process of having engraved in stone.

This recipe rocks and the reason is...that real life thing. See where it calls for 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 and 3/4 cup water? I set out the measuring cups and had reached the point where I had poured in one cup water and was getting ready to add the other when there was this...wham. And the sound of breaking glass. After I got through dealing with the kid who is NOT allowed to kick a soccer ball onto the top of the house because if you DO, you might hit the storm window and BREAK IT, I came back and finished the recipe. Only I added 3/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup water. That's backwards. THEN, I realized that I don't have a CLUE what instant yeast is. I normally either use yeast from the Mennonites or that stuff in the three-pack. I don't have TIME for a lesson in yeast so I dumped in a package of plain yeast.

This. Was. So. Good. Cutting rosemary and bringing it into the kitchen at this time of year is sensory overload...I haven't smelled anything that lovely since the basil froze. The leftovers went into a bag in the freezer and the kids are making lunchbox sandwiches out of it this week. So, put this in your file because it really is a keeper.

Quick Rosemary Focaccia from StephenCooks
5 C all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached)
4 tsp SAF instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 T fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
1/2 C olive oil + more for baking
1-3/4 C warm water (about 105 - 110º)
coarse salt
1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tsp water

Place the flour, yeast, sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and half the rosemary (if using) in the food processor bowl. Process in a few bursts to mix. With the processor running, slowly add 1 cup of the water, then the 1/2 cup olive oil and finally the remaining 3/4 cup water. Process until the dough coalesces into a ball and starts riding around on the blade. Turn out on a floured board and knead a few strokes. Dough should be relatively stiff but still pliable. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place 'til doubled, about 1-1/2 hour.

Place the baking stone in the oven and preheat to 450º. Punch the dough down, divide into 2 balls and flatten each ball to a disk about 8 - 10 " in diameter. Place on a corn-meal covered board or peel, cover with a clean towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1/2 hour.
When the dough has finished the second rising, use your forefinger to poke deep dimples all over the loaf, about 1-1/2" apart. Drizzle olive oil over the loaves, scatter on the remaining rosemary (if using) and slide them onto the stone. Bake 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 375º and bake 20 - 25 minutes more, until the bread is a nice dark golden brown. Two minutes before the bread is done, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with the coarse salt.
Allow to cool on a rack for 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:Yeast. If you are using regular yeast in the foil packets, dissolve one packet yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water and mix in the sugar and a tablespoon or two of the flour. Allow to stand for about 20 minutes, 'til a good head of foam has developed. Then proceed with the recipe, omitting sugar from the flour mixture, adding the yeast mixture to the flour in place of the first half-cup of water, and reducing the amount of flour by 1 tablespoon.

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