Feb 4, 2009

Tender Focaccia

This was such a fun recipe to make. Not because there was any special technique involved, but because I got to bake with my friend! I rarely bake with anyone, because baking and cooking is normally my time to de-stress and unwind, but it was so much fun baking with my friend. We spent the rising time watching Ugly Betty, which I am now addicted to. heehee =P

This recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose baking cookbook. The most unusual part about this recipe is that it calls for potato flour or potato flakes. The reason to incorporate the potato flakes/flour is to keep it moist. I made a similar recipe from Baking Illustrated using an actual potato. Between these two recipes, I prefer the King Arthur recipe by far. The name of this recipe says it all, it is a very tender bread. The bread is very soft and very filling, probably due to the potato. Here's the recipe.

Tender Focaccia
King Arthur Flour All Purpose baking cookbook

2 cups (16 oz ) boiling water
3 3/4 cups (16 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz) potato flour, or 1/3 cup (3/4 oz) potato flakes
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz) nonfat dry milk
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp (7/8 oz) olive oil, plus 2 to 3 tbsp to grease the pan and the surface of the dough
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt, sea salt, or fleur de sel, for topping

1. Put the hot water and 2 cups of the flour in a large bowl and beat for several minutes to develop a smooth batter. If you have the time, add 1/8 tsp yeast once the batter has cooled to lukewarm, and set the sponge aside for several hours or overnight; this helps develop flavor in the finished loaf, as well as the soft interior texture.

2. Whisk the potato flour with the remaining flour, dry milk, yeast, and salt. Add this to the batter a little at a time, while continuing to beat. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Beat, by had with a large spoon or with the paddle attachment of a mixer set at medium speed, for 8 to 10 minutes, changing to a dough hook when the dough begins to hold together.

3. After the dough has become smooth and shiny, put it in an oiled bowl, cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 30 minutes. The dough should have increased by about 1/3 and be puffy looking. Don’t punch down the dough, but pull the sides of the dough up and over in a folding motion. Do this several times to release some of the gas, then let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.

4. Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into a 12 or 14 inch round pan, or 1 tbsp olive oil into each of the two 8 inch round pans. Place the dough in the oiled pans, gently stretching it to fit. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then stretch it out a little more. At this point you may refrigerate the dough in the pan, tightly covered, for up to 24 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

6. Just before baking the focaccia, dimple it with your fingers, brush it with a little olive oil, and sprinkle it with coarse salt or a few sprigs of fresh herb. Bake the focaccia for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s deep brown all over. Remove it from the pan and cool it for 15 minutes before eating. Serve with flavored olive oil, or split for sandwiches.
  • I actually needed to use an additional 1/2 cup of flour. The dough was way to sticky.
  • For the two rises, I had to let the dough rise for about 45 minutes (an episode of ugly betty =P)
  • The recipes says that you need to bake it for 25 to 30 minutes, we only baked it for about 15 to 20 minutes.


dollee said...

Yum this sounds so good!

dollee said...

Tell me if you find a copy cat recipe. I found one last year and even made my own caramel (what a mess). It did not come out nearly as good the store-bought version. Having said that, I know the oven like you better than it likes me...


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