I've been M.I.A. lately because of my summer internship. I also just moved into a new apartment. I'm finally getting settled in, so I thought I'd finally update my poor, neglected blog.
So there is this amazing Italian restaurant in La Jolla called Piatti and they serve perfectly warm slices of focaccia with this amazing oil, vinegar, herb, and garlic dipping sauce. I could just go there just for the bread. It's that good. Being the person that I am, I decided to try to replicate the same delicious bread at home. I can never be happy with just eating good food, I need to know how to make it myself, too.
book. It's like a textbook and a cookbook got married and had a baby. The book has a couple chapters that educate the reader, but there are also lots of great recipes and pictures of BREAD. I haven't baked the perfect bread yet, but Reinhart's book has definitely helped me become more comfortable with bread baking.
For the bread baking process, the first day was the easy part and it doesn't take too long. The second day is long because you have to proof the bread a couple times and also prepare the herb oil if you haven't already. I made the mistake of starting at 7:00 P.M. This lead me to extend the bread making into a third day. Regardless, the smell of bread baking early in the morning was a-m-a-z-i-n-g and totally worth it. I also ended up making croutons with the leftover bread. YUM.
(Recipe after the jump)
By Peter Reinhart
Makes one 17 by 12-inch foccacia
3 cups (20 ounces) poolish [Recipe included below]
2 2/3 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
6 tablespoons olive oil (need additional 1/4 cup olive oil for shaping foccacia into baking pan)
3/4 cup water, lukewarm
1/4 to 1/2 cup Herb Oil [Recipe included below]
1/4 cup grated Parmesan* (optional)
1. Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the oil, poolish, and water and mix until the ingredients form a wet, sticky ball. Knead until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
2. Sprinkle enough flour on the counter to make a bed about 6 inches square. Transfer the sticky dough to the bed of flour and dust liberally with flour, patting the dough into a rectangle. Wait 5 minutes for the dough to relax.
3. Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size and fold it, letter style, over itself to return it to a rectangular shape. (Letter style: Fold left 1/3 of the dough to the right, then fold the remaining right 1/3 over the left 1/3. Similar to how you would fold a letter into thirds, so you can fit it in an envelope.) Mist the top of the dough with spray oil, again dust with flour, and loosely cover with plastic wrap.
4. Let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough again; mist with spray oil, dust with flour and cover. After 30 minutes, repeat this one more time.
5. Allow the covered dough to ferment on the counter for 1 hour. It should swell but not necessarily double in size.
6. Line a 17 by 12-inch sheet pan with baking parchment. Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over the paper and spread to cover the surface. Lightly oil your hands and transfer the dough to the sheet pan, maintaining the rectangular shape as much as possible. Spoon half of the herb oil over the dough. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it to fill the pan simultanelously. Do not use the flat of your hands, use only the fingertips, to avoid tearing or ripping the dough. Don't worry if you are unable to fill the pan 100%, especially the corners, since the dough will spread out naturally as it relaxes and proofs.
7. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough fills the pan.
8. About 15 minutes before baking, drizzle the rest of the herb oil and dimple it in. Let the dough relax for 15-30 minutes before baking to allow the gas to build back up.
9. Preheat the oven to 500*F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Place the pan in the oven and lower the oven setting to 450*F. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough begins to turn a light golden brown.
*During the last 5-10 minutes of baking, I added the grated parmesan cheese.
10. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately transfer the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Allow the focaccia to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing or serving.
Makes about 23 ounces
2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
Stir together the flour, water, and yeast in a mixing bowl until all of the flour is hydrated. The dough should be soft and sticky and look like very thick pancake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours, or until the sponge becomes bubbly and foamy. Immediately refrigerate it. It will keep fo rup to 3 days in the refrigerator.
2 cups olive oil
1 cup fresh herbs* (ex. basil, parsley, oregano, tarragon, etc.)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5-6 cloves fresh garlic (chopped or pressed)
Warm olive oil to about 100*F. Add 1 cup chopped fresh herbs. Add salt, black pepper, and garlic.
*I used only rosemary.