Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Focaccia Made Easy, Your Way

While I was in the Tetons, I learned how to make focaccia. Its an Italian Herb Bread. Our recipe made a sticky dough, which was then placed in a deep sheet pan where olive oil had been drizzled. Or, maybe I should say, dumped. The mass is allowed to "proof" which means rise in regular home cook lingo.
This bubbly dough is then topped with a garnish like rosemary sprigs, red pepper flakes, or parsley, some kosher salt or sea salt and baked at 375 for about 20 minutes. Easy peasy, as our Zion Chef would say.

Its a fantastically easy gourmet bread. I've shown my two daughters how to make it. My son in laws love it too. So, with that in mind here's the basic recipe.

2.5 cups of warm water
1 Tablespoon dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Tablespoon regular salt
4 1/4 cup flour

Stir this batter together until well blended. Then add some spices of your choice. We used rosemary, sage, onion salt, garlic salt and thyme. One of my daughters didn't have the rosemary so we used basil. After all, its an Italian bread.

Now, with the batter well mixed, and heavily spiced, dump a generous amount of olive or canola oil in a sheet pan or 9 x 13. There should be enough to actually pool a bit. Make sure the pan is coated. Now, scrape the batter into the pan. Set in a warm place and allow to double in size, at the very least.
You should see yeasty bubbles forming.
Now, sprinkle the kosher salt and garnish on top. Dip your finger tips in oil, make "dimples". Bake in hot oven, see above, until lightly browned.

This bread can be served in so many ways, as a sandwich, side dish with marinara, with grilled steaks and salad for a complete meal, or eaten for breakfast. All have been done this very week.

You can vary the spices, make it plain, or with chili theme. Have fun, its a cheap food and one I'll do on the trail with my baking system.

Happy trails.

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