Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One Hour Focaccia














Maybe it's because I couldn't have bread for the eight. whole. days. of Passover, but I've been baking up a storm this past week.  I made challahFrench bread rolls, pizza and Focaccia.  Focaccia is an Italian-style flat yeast bread that resembles thick-crust pizza, but with lots of air bubbles on the inside and indentations poked into the outside. It is brushed with olive oil and herbs before baking and before serving.  Sometimes Parmesan or another hard cheese is grated on.  There are sweet variations of focaccia, but I lean towards savory.  I have been experimenting with focaccia on and off for months now, but just like my pizza crust, my focaccia-making has been spectacularly unspectacular.

Until now.


I found a recipe at Crunchy Creamy Sweet that takes less time than the others, yet produces the best focaccia ever to come out of my oven.   Soft yet chewy crust, except for that one time when I accidentally overbaked a batch (TIP ALERT! leave overnight in a sealed plastic bag to fix), and softer bready innards.

Anna uses a heavy cast-iron skillet to make her focaccia.  I only have a skillet of the no-stick persuasion.  The bread still came out great.  Oh, and unlike a certain cable show that claims to turn out a meal in 30 minutes, this one-hour focaccia really only takes one hour, not counting cooling time.  Start up the dough, then proceed with dinner fixin's.  By the time everyone is gathered at the table (which in my house is similar to herding cats), the focaccia will be ready to join you all.


One-Hour Focaccia
Slightly adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Yield:  6-8 servings

Herb oil:
3 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Dough:
3 Tbl. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 (approx. 1/4 oz.) pkg. active dry yeast
2 cups unbleached flour, divided
1 tsp. kosher salt

Combine herb oil ingredients and set aside.  Grease a medium sized oven-safe skillet with one teaspoon of the olive oil and set aside as well.  Preheat oven to 200F, then turn oven off; leave door closed.

Place water and sugar in the large mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Stir until sugar dissolves.
Sprinkle yeast evenly over the water mixture and stir to moisten. Let stand 5 minutes until foamy.

Insert dough hook into mixer.  Add 1 cup of flour and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and continue to mix.  Gradually add remaining flour, mixing on low speed until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2-5 minutes.

Place dough onto a floured surface and fold the dough over a few times until it is smooth and no longer sticky. Shape into a ball, then roll or flatten to fit inside the skillet.

Place dough in skillet, then press and stretch with your fingers to line the bottom of the skillet to its edges. Lightly brush dough with remaining tablespoon of olive oil (you might not need the entire tablespoon).  Cover with a kitchen towel and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Do not turn oven back on yet!

Make sure your finger is dry!


















Remove skillet from oven and then heat the oven to 400F. Make indentations in the dough, using a finger or the round handle end of a wooden spoon.














Brush dough with half the herb-infused oil.














Place in oven and bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.















Remove from oven and brush with remaining herb-oil.












Let cool a bit before cutting into delicious wedges.

1 comment:

Abbe Odenwalder said...

That's funny because I had a strong need to bake also. I made bialys! Your foccacia looks wonderful!

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