Monday, April 23, 2012

Easy Focaccia

One of my longtime yoga students, Fahy Bygate, shared this recipe with me years ago. It's super-easy and really delicious.

Note: Instead of using chopped fresh rosemary, which I rarely have in the house when the inspiration to bake focaccia strikes, I stirred a teaspoon of ground rosemary into the dough. It infuses the bread with a delicious flavor.

2 cups lukewarm water (85 to 95degrees F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups flour
2 to 3 t. salt
2 to 3 t. olive oil
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 t. kosher or sea salt

Measure water into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir until dissolved. Stir in 2 C of the flour and the salt and stir briskly until smooth, about 2 mins. With a strong wooden spoon stir in the remaining 2 C flour for about 2 mins longer, just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and the flour is incorporated. The dough will be fairly wet and tacky but when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a loose ball, you'll know the dough has been stirred sufficiently. If it seems too sticky, stir in an additional 1/4 to 1/2 C of flour.

Same day method: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in volume. 30 to 40 minutes. Proceed with the shaping instructions.

Overnight method: Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight. The dough will rise in the refrigerator and acquire flavor from the slower yeast action. Remove the dough 2 hours before shaping and let stand, covered, in a warm place. The dough will rise for the second time. Proceed with the shaping instructions.

To shape into focaccia: Preheat oven to 500 F. Oil one or two nonstick 13 by 18 baking sheets. Pour the dough onto the sheets carefully scraping it from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Brush dough with 2 t. olive oil. To make the traditional focaccia with indentations, dip your fingers into cold water or olive oil and insert them straight down into the dough. Make the holes in the dough by pulling it to the sides about 1 inch at a time. Pull the holes at random to form little craters all over the pan showing through where you have put your fingers. As you work, stretch the dough into a 1-inch-thick-oval. Brush the loaf with another t. of olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary and sea salt. Focaccia does not need to rise but if you forget it for a few minutes, don't worry. It will bake beautifully despite a little neglect.

To bake: Place pan in the oven and reduce the oven temp to 450F. Bake for 15 to 20 mind until the focaccia has a nice, golden-brown color with a little darker brown around the indented area. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

No comments: