Sunday, February 23, 2014

Focaccia Bread

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Our small fellowship gets together on the weekends for Bible study and eating.
Yes, eating.
We have pot-lucks that make a cruise ship's layout look sad.
And, as in everything in life, you need to make good choices, even when going through a pot-luck line.

It gives us opportunity to break out the old favorite recipes and also to try some new ones.
This particular weekend, we are having soup and bread.
That is loosely interpreted, as there will be soups and chili. Uh, I'm making the chili.

One of our ladies makes fantastic homemade bread and we regularly buy
a loaf or two to enjoy. So, when it was decided to have chili, I mean soup,
I hesitated to make my focaccia bread, but then I thought, well, someone will like it.
After all, I like it...
What is there not to like about focaccia bread?
****
So, the story behind this recipe is this:

We have a restaurant called Macaroni Grill. Perhaps you have it in your area.
Years ago, I saw the recipe in the local newspaper. I don't usually read that section,
but, for some reason, I did that day, and there it was.

This recipe was given by the chef there and since then, they have changed it somewhat.
I still like this one.

The recipe uses the "cool rise" method and if you have never tried it, then please do.
If you have a busy day planned and time is of the essence, 
a little planning ahead makes this method a winner.
You basically make the bread, put it in the refrigerator and let it sit...
for at least 3 hours and up to 48!
Can you imagine? All the fuss is done, all you do is bake it.

Go to that soccer game and come home and bake up the bread or rolls.
I have used it to make other breads, and they turn out fantastic.

Well, on to the recipe, did you think it wasn't going to happen?

I have taken a picture of the recipe as it is in my favorite recipe book,
but I will walk you through it too.





 First off, notice that is says you are going to use 2 Cups of water, divided.
That means that the total amount is 2 Cups.
I take a 2 cup measure, run the water in the sink until it is hot and then measure out 2 cups.
Then I pour about a 1/4 cup into a little bowl for the yeast.

Sprinkle the yeast in and stir it around.
Now, a little secret about yeast, as it "works" it will get bubbly,
like this if it is "good". If it doesn't, then two things, it could be old,
or your water was too hot and killed it. But I think you will do just fine.


 Yeast keeps a long time in the refrigerator.
A little packet that you buy at the store will keep in there too.
I have bought in bulk and the yeast I have, in an airtight container, is probably several years old.
Yep, just can't seem to use it up. And, it is still "working".

OK, now measure your flour into your mixing bowl.
It calls for 4 1/2 cups, you will need more, just saying,
but go for the original amount now.



Add in the olive oil, if you don't have olive oil, then use regular oil.
Mix it up and it will look like cornmeal.

Now add the water which you have added sugar, it will be soupy,
Add the yeast water, and then the vinegar and don't forget the rosemary and salt.
Now, you have all the ingredients in. But...


Doesn't look like bread dough, huh?
Well, keep mixing and add in about a 1/4 Cup of flour at a time.
About a cup later, it will start to leave the edges of the bowl.
At first it will be kinda stringy, but keep on going.
Sometimes more flour is needed. I don't know where they came up with 4 1/2 Cups!

Here it left the sides of the bowl, just like it said it would, I did not scrape it down.

 Now transfer it to a floured board, or as I hate the clean-up, a floured wax paper.
Put a little more flour on it, and cover it with plastic wrap and a towel.
Let it rest for 20 minutes.



Now, you can go have a cup of coffee, make a phone call, take a short nap,
or clean up the mess you have made in the kitchen.
You have the choice!

OK, now take that clump and kinda roll the sides into the center and either
make one large ball, or divide it up.
Here I have four. They look sorta little, but they will rise to the occasion.
I have used cake tins, I think three, and when it cooks, it has a delicious outer rim
and makes a great large sandwich when sliced across.


I put my hand here to give you an idea of the size.


Cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
At least 3 hours, as long as 48.
That means you can make them ahead and cook some tonight,
one tomorrow and one the next day if you like.

After they have risen in the refrigerator,
take them out and while the oven is heating to 350',
punch them down with your fingers.


Let it bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, get ready the olive oil, rosemary and I used kosher salt here.


After they bake for 20 minutes take them out and brush on olive oil and sprinkle on the salt and rosemary.
It is not finished baking, though, put it back in and let it bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is brown.


I took the liberty of separating the loaves, as they were getting pretty chummy.

A few more minutes, and yes, you will have to sweep after all. The rosemary and salt just want to coat everything, including the floor.



Ready to share at our lunch.

*****
After I reread this post, I realized that I didn't tell you about how wonderful
this tastes dipped in olive oil, with maybe a tad (or more for my taste) of balsamic
vinegar. Pour the oil in a shallow dish and add the vinegar on the side. It makes my
mouth explode with wonderful sensations.

Also, after you have enjoyed this straight from the oven,
you will want to slice and toast it later. Smear on the butter.
The rosemary will "revive" and you will remind yourself that you have to make this again.


If you have any questions, successes and such, be sure to comment and let me know how it turned out.

Shared on "Made By Me Wednesday"



Also: Adorned From Above

Adorned From Above

2 comments:

  1. Yum! I haven't made this in a while, hmm, maybe we'll have it for dinner!

    ReplyDelete

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