My New Love, Focaccia- Two Ways

May 19, 2011

Over the last few weeks, several batches of focaccia made their way through my oven.  Each batch took on a different personality.  I topped one with oven-dried figs, walnuts, and blue cheese as an appetizer, another I brushed with garlic oil and served as a side dish.  Another batch I made into a simple pizza and the last I topped with apples and cinnamon sugar for breakfast.  Anyway you top this bread, it is delightful.

Besides its versatility and incredible taste, this bread is also very convenient to make.  The dough rises twice, then rests in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours.  When you are ready to bake, just pull a dough ball from the fridge, stretch it out, and top it as you please.  Twice I served this bread for brunch.  Usually I do not even consider a yeasted bread for brunch, because of the time it takes to rise, but since rises the day before, it is easy to pull off for a meal any time of day.

Though I have topped this bread many ways, my favorite remains brushing it with a garlic infused olive oil, sprinkling it with fresh herbs, and scattering coarse salt over the top.  The outside becomes crunchy and brown, but the inside stays chewy and moist.  The garlic flavor permeates the whole flatbread and the salt provides a crunch.  It was a great accompaniment to our Huevos Diablos con Chorizo the other morning.  Topping it with thinnly sliced apples is a close second, for a sweet version that is suitable for both brunch or dessert, though I would sweeten it up a bit more if serving it for dessert.

These recipes were submitted to Yeastspotting.

Garlic Herb Focaccia

adapted from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

makes 3 focaccias

2 1/4 cups warm water (divided)

2 Tablespoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup olive oil

6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons salt

9 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped

1/4 cup Garlic oil (see recipe below)

Coarse salt

Mix 1/2 cup of the water with the yeast.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, mix the remaining 1 3/4 cups of warm water, olive oil, salt, and yeast mixture.  With mixer running on low speed (2 on a Kitchenaide), add the flour one cup at a time for the first 5 cups, then 1/2 cup at a time for the remaining flour, allowing each addition to fully incorporate before adding the next scoop.  Stop adding flour when the dough is soft and stretchy, but not sticky.  Continue kneading on low-speed for 5 minutes.  Remove dough and place in an oiled bowl, lightly covered, in a warm place.

the First Rise

Allow to rise for up to 1 1/2 hours until the dough doubles in size.  (Watch out!  This is the most active bread I have ever seen.  It is very exciting- gather your neighbors! )

the Second Rise

Press down the dough and reform into a ball.  Allow to rise an additional 45 minutes until it doubles again.

the Rest

Press down the dough, cut into three equal pieces and form into balls.  Place one ball each into three oiled plastic bags or covered containers.  Refrigerate for 24-36 hours.

the Baking

Take dough from refrigerator and let warm on the counter for 1 hour until it will stretch easily.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees with baking stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Stretch dough out on a piece of parchment paper. Brush entire top with 1-2 Tablespoons garlic oil and  sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs and coarse salt.

Slide bread and  parchment on the baking stone in preheated oven.  Bake for 15- 20 minutes until the bread is browned on the edges and bottom.   Pull from the oven and place on cooling rack.  Cool for 5- 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Garlic Oil

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Put oil in a small pan and heat over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and turn heat down to low. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then pull from the heat and set aside.   Watch garlic carefully.  If it begins to brown before the time is up, pull it from heat immediately.  If the garlic cooks too much it will turn bitter.

Apple Focaccia

makes 1 focaccia

Serve this bread for brunch or dessert.  It is only mildly sweet.  Feel free to increase the sugar if you have a real sweet tooth.

1 focaccia dough ball (one third of the above recipe)

2 baking apples (golden delicious or gravenstein work well)

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons apricot jam (thinned with 1 teaspoon water)

Take dough from refrigerator and let warm on the counter for 1 hour until it will stretch easily.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees with baking stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Peel and core apples.  Slice apples in half,  from top to bottom.  Lay halves on the cutting board, cut side down.  Thinly slice into half moons.

Stretch dough out onto a piece of parchment paper.  Brush melted butter over the entire top of the bread dough.  Carefully arrange apple half moons to cover the dough, leaving a 1 inch margin around the edge.  Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the top of the apples.

Slide bread on parchment onto the baking stone in preheated oven.  Bake for 18-22 minutes until the bread is browned on the edges and bottom.  The apples should be softened as well.  Pull from the oven, place on cooling rack, and brush with apricot jam.  Cool for 5- 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipes: Focaccia- Two Ways

You may also like:

Weeknight No-Knead Bread

Caramel Apple Tarts

3 Responses to “My New Love, Focaccia- Two Ways”

  1. ann marie Says:

    Oh what memories this recipe stirred. This was Rich’s
    all time favorite – plain. We were introduced to it
    by Rose Forstrom at Svea Lodge. He looked forward to
    every potluck and picnic so he could get his fill. He
    was not above begging/bribing Rose for a supply !

  2. Janice Says:

    I was the lucky mom who got to taste two versions of this bread for my birthday breakfast. It was wonderful — everyone loved it!

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