Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Herb and Bacon Focaccia

When I see focaccia on the menu, I usually turn the page, for more often than not it tastes like stale pizza crust, but being in the mood to try something new, I figured I could easily do better. I went to my cookbook library, but after being discouraged by complicated recipes with poolishes and overnight this and that, I decided to do it the simple way, by started with my basic pizza dough and turning it into focaccia by way of getting they hydration up to 72% and doing some stretching and folding, as with ciabatta.  I had some fresh thyme and sage in the garden, and threw in some bacon for good measure. The result: a delicious, airy crust with an herb-infused flavor.

Here's the recipe:

Dough:
 326 g all-purpose flour
 161 g levain (see my levain recipe here )
 212 g water
 9 g salt
 1/4 teas. instant yeast

Topping:
 2 Tbl chopped fresh sage
 1 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
 3-4 Tbl olive oil steeped with some sage and thyme
 6 slices bacon, cooked about 2/3 of the way through  and chopped
  1.  Make the dough: combine all ingredients, mix, cover with towel and allow to rest for 25 min.
  2. Knead by hand about 7 minutes. The dough will be quite wet.
  3. Place in oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with vegetable oil spray and let sit at room temp for about 2 hours.
  4. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours; more time if you have it. Then return to countertop for another hour or two, until it's no longer ice cold. It won't rise an awful lot; don't worry about it.
  5. On well-floured countertop, gently press dough into a 6-inch square; cover with the plastic and let rest a few minutes.
  6. Lightly flour the top of the dough., then grab the dough in the middle of the square and stretch outwards about twice the original size, and fold back. Do the same with the other half, envelope style.
  7. Cover and rest for 30 min. Repeat the folding; cover and rest 30 min.
  8. Cover a rimmed  cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil. My pan was about 11 by 16 inches, but the size is not too important.
  9. Using your fingers, gently push the dough out to form an even layer over the pan about 3/8 to 1/2 inch high. It may not fill the pan. Add the herbs, cover with plastic and let rise about 1-1/2 hours.
  10. Preheat the oven to 525 degrees.
  11. Fifteen minutes before baking, Brush with the herb-infused olive oil, then use your fingers to gently poke indentations into the dough, thus working the oil into the dough. It will pool up in the dimples. Add the bacon.
  12. Place in oven; turn oven down to 450 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, but it's best eaten when warm.

4 comments:

  1. You forget that not everyone gets up at 4 or 5 AM to start the bread! Thanks for this, as in your book your directions and tips are helpful and clear. I have been, as you,"concerned" (obsessed?)with the crumb. The folding is important and I have forgotten about that. Have you ever used potato in focaccia it gives the dough a nice texture. (BTW, loved 52 Loaves)

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  2. Actually, I fed the levain the night before and didn't get this bread started until 9. (So there!) That being said, good bread does take time...

    I've never tried potato in the dough, but there's a famous version of focaccia with a sliced potato topping that I've meaning to try. (And thanks for the kind words about "52 Loaves.")

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  3. I think I understand, Sensai. I will try this weekend and report back. (But I have to tell ya, 500 scared me with the peasant bread. 525? Jeez!)

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  4. This looks fantastic. I just finished reading the $64 tomato. I read it in 2 days. :) That's not bad for a mom with 2 kids, lol.

    I laughed, I cried, I felt your pain - literally! We also have a garden in a clay lot that slopes in both directions. My husband and I re-built it with my father (for hopefully the last)time this year. Yet I couldn't help but salivate over the fact that you had 20+ beds, we have 4 3x12 beds. And brandywines are my favorite too.

    I had a question I was hoping you might answer. You are in the northeast, so I'm assuming a growing zone of 4 or less - but you were able to grow peaches. I am in zone 4 (almost 3) and would love to know which variety you grew.

    I have joked (but not really joking) that I want to expand our garden. My husband has no desire to dig in the clay ever again, so he has okay'd fruit trees. Woo!

    Yes, that means digging, but no boxes or sloped beds.

    If you could email me (thesuburbanjungle @ gmail.com) and tell me the variety of peaches you grew (assuming you are in zone 4 or less as well) I would really appreciate it.

    Buy the way - I laughed uncontrollably when your children said "what do you expect us to eat? farmstand corn?"

    Gardening creates food snobs. My little ones refuse to eat canned mushrooms, veggies, or soup. They can't believe they even exist! And they are really little so they sometimes blurt it out in a snobby way.

    I hope your neck has healed and you are still able to garden. Gardening is a pain sometimes, but there's nothing like it to keep you grounded and connected to the world we live in. Plus the food rocks!

    Thanks in advance - Angela

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