Focaccia Bread

August 5, 2014
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I have been wanting to try this recipe out for ages. This time last year El Capitano and I were coming down from the high that was our European Honeymoon. It was more like and exhausting marathon across three countries and six cities but ah was it fun.

One of our most memorable nights was in in Venice…

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It was beautiful.

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Focaccia was the perfect fix for my European blues.

So like any smart person looking for a fool-proof recipe I turned to Americas Test Kitchen.

It was superbo as they say in Italy.

To make this recipe and to reach ultimate flavor capacity you have to create a Biga.

 A Biga is a starter (mixture of yeast, water, and flour that sits out for an extended period of time) used in several bread recipes.

It increases the flavor exponentially.

Begin with 1/2 cup of flour.

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A 1/4 tsp of yeast.

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Finally, a 1/3 cup of warm water.

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Stir until just combined.

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It should look like a very wet sticky batter.

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Cover with plastic wrap and let sit out overnight or up to 24 hours.

You can also refrigerate up to three days before using.

It may or may not smell like booze….

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To start the Focaccia add in 2 1/2 cups of sifted flour.

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Another teaspoon of yeast.

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Then mix in 1 1/4 cups of warm water.

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Mix with a wooden spoon.

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Make sure it is completely combined.

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Give it a rest for about 15 minutes (cover with the plastic wrap again).

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Time to stir in 2 tsp. of salt.

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Now you let it rest again.

Yeast breads have a geriatric age of 100 and need lots of rest.

Not really. BUT seriously, let it rest and rise.

After it has sat for 30 minutes you will need to coat a rubber spatula in cooking spray.

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This dough should never be kneaded.

It’s a rebellious yeast bread and defies the laws that are all things yeasty.

You must gently fold it. 19

A total of 8 times (I move the bowl 90 degrees after each fold).

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Apparently that was too much work for this dough boy.

Rest and relax for another 30 minutes.

Repeat the folding and resting two more times (total of 90 minutes).

After the last fold, place the dough onto a floured counter.

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Divide in half and form into a small loaf by tucking the edges under.

The dough was seriously sticky at this point. It will probably be the same way for you. This is normal. If you cant really shape it into a ball, do your best and flour your hands.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone in the oven. The oven has to be this hot for 30 minutes prior to baking.

If you do not have a pizza stone, use a turned over baking sheet.

Prepare two 9″ cake pans by adding 2 tbsp of olive oil.

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Swirl the pan and allow the oil to coat the bottom.

Then add some sea salt.

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Take your two dough balls and place them top side down into the oil.

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Swirl across the bottom gently to coat. Then flip.

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I gently moved the dough around in the pan again to coat the bottom and the sides of the dough. Let rest 5 minutes.

Get out some fresh rosemary.

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Mince about 2 tablespoons and set aside.

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With a fork, stab poke out the large bubbles that have formed in the dough.

About 30 times…. don’t go all “Here’s Johnny!” via the shinning on me or anything.

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Sprinkle with the rosemary.

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Let it rest for about 15 minutes ( I know, I told you…geriatric carbohydrates).

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Place the two pans into the oven on top of the stone (I had to place one toward the back right corner and one in the front left). Turn the oven down to 450 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes.

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Rotate the pans halfway through and bake another 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Mine popped right out of the pan after 3-4 minutes.

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If you are impatient like me, then dig right in.

Otherwise…let it cool for 10-15 minutes (don’t do this just eat it hot and don’t be a wuss).

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I cut mine into wedges. Wedges taste better…somehow.

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Sorry Not Sorry.

I am sorry in advance for all the posts that involve delicious bread.

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Cheers,

-L

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