I’m not very skilled at bread baking. While I’ve got no problems with cake-like breads, like banana or zucchini breads, I sometimes struggle with making yeast breads. I’ve had more than a few sets or rolls turn out tough. This week’s focaccia recipe may be the first step towards conquering my fears.
The first step of course, is combining the warm water and the yeast. After the yeast has dissolved, whole wheat flour, olive oil, sugar and salt are added. Then, flour is added until the dough reaches a stiff consistency. I should note: the original recipe suggests using bread flour, but I was waaaaay too cheap to buy flour I wasn’t going to use that often. Instead, I used regular whole wheat flour in place of whole wheat bread flour and all purpose flour instead of bread flour. The dough is then kneaded and left to rise until is doubles in size, about 45 minutes.
Waiting is always the hardest part.
After the dough has risen, thin basil slices are incorporated. The dough rests for 10 minutes, then gets rolled out into a pan and rests 10 more minutes. Finally, the tomatoes, garlic, and cheese are pressed into the top of the loaf. The tomatoes should be cut side up so they cook down nicely under the heat of the broiler. 15-ish minutes at 450 (plus additional cheese melty/tomato toasty time under the broiler) is all it takes to turn out a great-tasting and impressive looking loaf of focaccia!
The original recipe suggests using a 10″ x 15″ jelly roll pan to bake the bread, but more important than the dimensions is that the pan have a bit of a lip so the olive oil doesn’t run off and burn in the bottom of your oven. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything, but let’s just say my neighbors probably didn’t appreciate hearing my smoke alarm as frequently as they did while I was baking this.
Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, and Garlic via Simply in Season
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 – 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
handful fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly black pepper
1. Combine yeast and water in large bowl, stirring until yeast is dissolved.
2. Add whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and olive oil, stirring until moistened.
3. Add in flour until a stiff dough is formed. Knead 8-10 minutes until dough is elastic.
4. Let dough rise 45 minutes in a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth.
5. Add basil and slightly knead dough to distribute evenly. Let dough rest 10 minutes.
6. Roll or pat dough out onto a greased jelly roll pan and drizzle lightly with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest 10 minutes.
7. Press in tomatoes, garlic, and cheese, with tomatoes cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.
8. Bake 12-20 minutes at 450. You may also want to broil for a few minutes to really melt the cheese and break down the tomatoes.