Saturday, January 21, 2012

Focaccia !

Today Adam made pizza for dinner as usual, but he also made bread sticks for us, for an appetizer. Like our appetites need any help!
And yes, it was twice as delicious as it looks. The focaccia dough is 80% water, he says, so it's nearly a liquid. It's soft inside, crispy outside, with a nice buttery crust on the bottom. After this, I was only able to eat one piece of pizza, sadly.

Start with a sponge, (a starter, a pouliche):

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 tsp instant yeast
Mix well in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, Cover tightly and let stand at room temp. for at least 8 hrs. (Adam did not wait that long -- only about 3 hours.)

Dough:
2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for shaping
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tsp. instant yeast
kosher salt
4 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp chopped rosemary

Stir the flour, water and yeast into the sponge mixture until uniform and no flour remains. Cover again and let rise for 15 minutes. Then sprinkle 2 tsp salt over dough and stir in evenly. Cover again and let rise for 30 minutes. With a well-sprayed spatula or scraper, fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding its edge toward the middle. Fold 6 times. Cover and allow to rise 30 minutes. Repeat the folding, covering and rising 2 more times, for a total of 3 30-minute rises. Heat a baking stone well in a 500º oven.

Carefully transfer the dough to a floured surface. Divide in half. Shape each into a round. Oil two 9" cake pans with olive oil very well and sprinkle with salt. Put dough in pan, slide it around and then flip, so it is coated with the oil and salt. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Then press dough to edge of pans. Poke dough with fork to pop bubbles. Sprinkle rosemary on top. Allow to rest again for 5-10 minutes.

Bake pans on the baking stone and reduce temp to 450º. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks and remove from pans.

Adam got this recipe from America's Test Kitchen online. He didn't do all the various steps. I guess that's part of being good at something, is to know what you can safely leave out :)

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