Focaccia I gotcha!

October 23rd 2013

Well after last week’s focaccia fail I was determined to get it right this time. Throwing out all those ingredients is wasteful and totally annoying, not to mention the labor involved. But there is no use crying over ruined bread right? So onward and upward, I decided today was the day! I was planning on doing a minestrone with fava beans and tons of veggie goodness, so a sidekick of focaccia would be ideal. I went down to the store, not before I stopped at the carts by my house to try the much hyped Bridgetown bagels, I am happy to report they are totally worthy of the buzz they are getting, amazing! Even with the limitations of making them all in their smallish cart, these guys are busting out the best of the best in Portland. I was inspired! Determined to not fail, I picked up some yeast, Bob’s Redmill flour and went about my business, and I must say it was a success, I’ve eaten better focaccia in my life, but my biggest critic (Ava, my six year old) ate a giant piece, so already it was good enough to eat! This recipe is easy, no kneading, lazy man style. Almost idiot proof, I say that because bread baking and I aren’t exactly besties, this is a great recipe for beginners.
You will need:
7 cups bread flour
2 tsp. or two packet dry yeast
3 ½ cups of water, I used some flat beer that got left out overnight for 1 cup of the liquid, make sure your liquid is very warm to the touch but if it burns you too hot, can kill your yeast.
2 tsp. fine grain salt
1 tbsp. coarse salt (for sprinkling on top)
½ cup olive oil
In a mixer outfitted with a bread hook, add your flour and salt, combine. Add yeast to liquid and stir, let stand until a bit foamy and bubbly, add to flour and salt, mix first on low for a few minutes then medium until it is well mixed….about 10 minutes total. In a bowl add half of the oil, pour dough in (it will be loose, kinda like that sci fi movie from the 50’s called “The Blob”), cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for two or three hours, at that point it should be more than double its original size. Use a bit of your remaining oil to grease a sheet pan, add dough, top with additional oil, press with fingers to make dimples all over the dough, sprinkle with coarse salt. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees, bake bread about 40 minutes until golden brown. Tada! BREAD! Woot Woot!