Posts Tagged ‘YUM’

BBA #13 You Say Fococcia, I Say Focaccia

Well hi there folks! We’re on to the next bread in the baking backlog. Recipe number thirteen is Fococcia – one of the best breads ever to grace my plate if you want my opinion on the matter. I remember the first time I had fococcia bread on my sandwich, it was at a  little hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop near Red Rocks, Colorado and it left a major impression on my 15-year-old self, I was in love! I have ordered it many times since, so I was particularly intrigued by Peter Reinhart’s recipe in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Without further ado let me show you how easy this was to make!

 Our cast of characters for this bread are pictured above: olive oil, unbleached bread flour, water, salt and yeast. Not pictured are my fresh herbs which missed out on the photo op.

 My mise en place.

Using the usual procedure, add the ingredients to a mixing bowl and then knead for about 7-8 minutes until you have a smooth, soft and sticky dough. Next flour your counter well and plop the dough on the counter and pat the dough into a shape approximating a rectangle. It helps to have floured hands for this.  Wait 5 minutes for the dough to relax and recover from the trama.

Next, take the dough and stretch the dough till it is twice its size and fold it over letter style, mist the top with oil and cover with plastic and wait for 30 minutes. Repeat this step, only fold the dough in the opposite direction and recover. Wait 30 minutes. Repeat folding a third time but let rest on the counter for an hour.

During this two-hour fold and wait process. Grab some fresh herbs, I used thyme, rosemary, and chives. Dice the herbs fairly fine, about 1/2 cup worth and then add about a cup of olive oil and some coarse grain salt and fresh ground pepper. Give it a stir or two over the two hours. Finally, your dough is ready, it will be a little larger than before your folding.

Find a piece of parchment paper and place it in a rimmed baking sheet and spread with a generous amount of oil. Place your dough on the parchment paper.

Using the tips of your fingers press the dough into the corners of the pan. Spread half the oil over the surface.  Your fingers will have left dozens of  little dimples on the surface of the dough which will allow the herbed oil to soak into the dough. Cover the dough and place the pan in the fridge overnight.

The next evening pull the dough out of the fridge, it should have expanded to fill the sheet pan. Dimple the dough down again and pour the rest of the herbed oil mixture over the top. Cover and let rest on the counter for 3 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a rack on the middle shelf. If you want add any additional toppings you want on the dough. Once in the oven, lower the temp down to 450 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the fococcia is a light golden brown and your kitchen is filled with the most amazing aroma. Test the dough with a thermometer and remove from the oven when the internal temp reads 200 degrees.

As quick as you can, remove the fococcia from the pan and place on a cooling rack, then try and convince yourself to wait the recommended 20 minutes for the bread to cool before you slice yourself a piece and enjoy the fruits of your labor. It was just perfect. I will make this one again for sure – maybe with cheese on top, or a desert style with melted chocolate and cinnamon sugar. The possiblites are endless…..

Next up: French Bread

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BBA #12 English Muffins

Oh man, these were good! I never thought that I would ever make English muffins! I love them, but always thought they were just easier to buy at the store. BUT, due to their price – yikes – they were regulated to some-what of an indulgence. I was so excited to learn how to turn simple, cheap and easy to find ingredients in to one of my favorite  breakfast foods! Let’s see how it’s done:

Find some unbleached bread flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and buttermilk (or regular milk) and set them out. My buttermilk was frozen so, I put both the buttermilk and the butter in a bowl and microwaved them just until the buttermilk was melted.

Add together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Then mix in the buttermilk and butter.

I used my bread whisk to get the dough started and then dumped the mix into the Kitchen Aid and used the bread hook to mix the dough until I could get a window-pain and the dough was smooth and elastic. I oiled the bowl and placed the dough in the bottom and covered it with plastic. I let the dough rise until doubled (between 60-90 minutes).

 Once the dough is doubled, I wiped down the counter top with a damp sponge and placed the dough ball on the counter. Trying not to deflate the dough completely, I carefully divided the dough into six pieces and formed each into a boule.  I sprayed a piece of parchment paper with oil and set the six boules on the paper with enough room for them to rise again. I recovered them with  the plastic and waited for them to double again. (Another 60-90 minutes).

Meanwhile, I placed a liberally oiled griddle on the burner over a medium flame. I also preheated the oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough had doubled, I placed three boules on the griddle and let them cook for about 7 minutes. I should have checked them a little sooner, since they were a little on the dark side. I flipped them over and gave the other side the same treatment. When I the first three were done I placed them on a pan in the oven and cooked them for another 5 minutes. This allows the inside of the muffin to finish cooking. I repeated this process with the last three boules. This is one recipe that I could have easily doubled or tripled!

Look at those! So good, just a bit of tang from the butter milk and lots of little “nooks and crannies” to let the butter sink into.

 The trick to “nooks and crannies” is to use a fork and pierce the side of the muffin all the way around, then tear the two sides apart. Toast till golden in the toaster add butter and your favorite jam.

If your feeling fancy, you could whip up some Hollandaise sauce, poach and egg and slice some ham to make the best Eggs Benedict you could ever have! Enjoy =)

Next up: Focaccia