Friday, September 5, 2014

Breadhead Friday: Focaccia

The only experience most of us will have with focaccia is a dry piece flatbread served at chain restaurants as an Italian-style appetizer or part of a more ambitious bread basket.  Which is a shame, because properly prepared, there are few things in the world more delicious than focaccia.  Moist with herb oil and a tender, almost creamy crumb, you won't believe how good it can be.

By properly prepared, I mean you need to have a high hydration dough to get this to work (75%-80%).  The recipe I use is very similar to this raisin bread recipe, though I obviously leave out the dried fruit for more savory ingredients.

Before baking. Sliced tomatoes and plenty of herb oil

After baking: note the char. The herb oil cooks the tomatoes a little, too

A word of explanation about percentages: a 75-80% hydration dough means that if the weight of flour equals 100%, you need to have 75-80% of that weight in water, also.  So if you add a pound of flour, you have to add .75 or .85 lbs of water.  A more detailed explanation of baker's percentage can be found here.

Pepperoni pizza focaccia

Typically, I treat it like a pizza, and put various toppings on it.  We'd have it more often, but it's a bit time-consuming to make: lots of time and care.  But it's worth it.  Every delicious bite.  Make some.  You won't regret it.

Left: tomatoes and cheese. Right: tomatoes, sauteed onions and cheese

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