Wednesday, March 3, 2010

focaccia bread

I discovered this recipe last week on the Studio 5 website (love this site), and have made it six times since then. It is so simple and easy but it makes a fabulous artisan like bread.
Check out the Kathleen Alder's recipe on the site and watch the video with her. She gives great tips and she also explains how to make it into pizza.
Here is the basic recipe and my tips to go along with hers.

3 cups flour
1 2/3 cups warm water
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. yeast

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together, until moistened. It will be a very soft dough. Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Then pour the bread onto a greased baking sheet and carefully spread it out, without disturbing it too much. Drizzle with olive oil and top with anything else you would like (my favorite toppings are basil, coarse salt, and fresh Parmesan). Let rise for 15 to 20 minutes and then bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

I found that:
-it is really done in about 18 minutes.
-the bread will stick unless the pan is sprayed really well. Coating the pan with cornmeal also helped.
-trying to do it quickly (in about an hour) makes a warm bread but nothing like the the really good bread that comes from sitting for 12-24 hours.
-it only takes a few minutes to mix it up the night before or in the morning and then it can just be forgotten about until it is ready to bake for dinner.
-when it is time to bake the bread, turn on the oven to preheat while putting the bread on the pan and letting it raise. By the time the oven is preheated the bread will be ready to bake.
-almost anyone can make this bread and everyone I know who has, loved it.

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