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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary-flecked goodness

Hey, I said I'd actually managed some cooking in the time I was too busy to blog! I made this on Thursday night after work when the Frog visited.

About a month ago, after my visit to North Beach, I got interested in making focaccia.

I seem to have a formula that works without much fuss down, with one big problem when I got overconfident and didn't measure the oil. I plan to try olive or green onion at some point in the not too distant future. I will also experiment with regular all purpose flour, as the blend King Arthur sells for focaccia is low-protein.

If you have a Kitchen Aid with dough hook, refer to my embedded links for how-tos. I do it all by hand.

So anyways, here goes:

Set one package (2 1/4 teaspoons if you use the same brand I do) dry yeast to proof in about 250-300 ml (around 1 1/3 cup, but your Pyrex has the metric, no?) warm water. I put a pinch of sugar in.

While the yeast is doing its thing (should take ~10 min), put two slightly rounded cups* bread flour and one tablespoon kosher flake salt (I use Diamond brand, which is "fluffy", if you use regular table salt reduce this amount) in a large bowl and stir. Scoop out another slightly rounded cup of flour and add about a third of it to the bowl. Save the rest.

Take about 2 5" or so sprigs fresh rosemary and cut the leaves off in little bits into the bowl with the flour. Mix.

When yeast is proofed, dump it in the bowl, and add seven TBS extra virgin olive oil. The better the oil you use, the better the result will taste.

Mix it together. Add flour from the cup gradually until you get a dough that is soft but not sticky. You will probably not use it all.

Turn out dough on lightly floured surface. IMMEDIATELY soak the bowl in warm water. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. Scrub out bowl, dry, and put a little oil in it. Put the dough in, cover with a clean tea towel, and let it rise somewhere warmish for a couple of hours, or until at least doubled. (There was a reason I said to soak the bowl. Leaving cleanup till the dough proofs makes it narsty.)

Knock the dough back. Lightly oil a quarter-sheet (or slightly larger) pan and stretch the dough to fit it (making sure both sides of dough are oiled). Make dimples with your fingers in the dough. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes (or until doubled again). Remember to preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C.

Before baking, add some more rosemary to the top (you can put a snip in each hole, or just sprinkle carefully), brush some oil on it if it looks dry, and carefully shake about another tablespoon of kosher flake salt (or less if you have sea salt) over the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown on the top. Cool slightly.

If you do not eat this immediately, cover in cling wrap, and try to eat (or freeze) it soon.

* Both the recipes I saw said 500 G flour. Since that works out to be about 17 oz, and a cup of flour measured via Dip and Scoop runs at about 5 oz, it's three cups and a bit. Doing it this way makes it easy-peasy.

I see the only real difference between Ranee's hummus and mine (besides her precision with measurements) is cumin. Sniff. (She also uses 4 cloves garlic and I say 2-3, but the garlic measure is so personal, I don't consider this a real difference. My garlic cloves may be bigger than hers, who knows?).

Well, I'll admit that cumin is a possibly legitimate addition to hummus (and would probably taste good). I may even try it sometime. No, I'm not actually offended that you plugged Ranee's recipe and not mine. Sniff. (truly, I'm just kidding)

I love the discourse on focaccia (followed all the links, including the North Beach tour - I never get to the really good secret focaccia places, as described by Evergene & now you. Would take some planning but I'm determined to do it one of these days) I'm trying to drop some weight but I splurged on a giant chunk of Arizmendi olive focaccia yesterday. Yum... however the only time I made focaccia, I was disappointed with the results. If I do it again, I'll buy that organic bread flour from the Food Mill that makes such nice bread, and maybe try a Peter Reinhart long rise recipe. So much work, though!

Glad your focaccia turned out nicely. PS - who is the Frog - same guy who came to my party back in '99, when you gave me those darling baby blankets?
BTW - wouldn't Susan Hattie's goat cheese torta taste fabulous on focaccia? I haven't made that this millenium, and I don't know why. It's really delicious. Of course with the year I've had, I really don't throw parties, and when invited to potluck I still tend to skip bringing anything. But I'm recovering extremely well and should be back in the party food saddle soon. In fact, I'm feeling pretty ready right now.
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