April 23, 2012

Rosemary Focaccia

I’m back to blogging from my winter hibernation and thanks to Valli and Blogging Marathon; I’m definitely going to stick around for the next 7 days. My theme for this edition of BM is “Bread Baking”. I had bought a year’s supply of yeast and flour just a few days before Valli announced BM# 15 and I was thrilled to see Bread baking as one of the themes. I’m not exaggerating when I say we were on carb and sugar overload for the past 2-3 weeks. I still have 2-3 loaves in my freezer for later use. 


For the 1st day, I made this simple focaccia bread. Recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen – I watched them make it on the show and it sounded pretty simple and straight forward. There is no kneading required and this bread is perfect for beginner bakers. All you need is a quiet afternoon, a timer and a book or TV to keep you occupied between the folding (you’ll know what I’m talking about in a minute).

Recipe courtesy America’s Test Kitchen.
Ingredients:
For the Biga (or Starter): 
All-purpose flour – ½ cup
Instant or Rapid-Rise Yeast – ¼tsp 
Warm water (@ 100-110°F) – 1/3 cup 

For the Dough:
All-purpose Flour – 2½ cups and more for shaping
Warm Water (@ 100-110°F) – 1¼ cups
Instant or Rapid-Rise Yeast – 1tsp
Salt – 2tsp, plus more for sprinkling on the focaccia 
Extra-virgin olive oil – 4tbsp 
Fresh Rosemary – 2tbsp 

Method
  • For the Biga: Combine all the ingredients under Biga in a large bowl and mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl tightly with a plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Use this immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days (stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding). 
  • For the Dough: Stir flour, water and yeast into the biga and mix well with a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes. 
  • Sprinkle 2tsp salt on the dough and stir until well incorporated. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Spray a plastic or rubber spatula with cooking spray; fold the partially risen dough over itself by gently lifting the edge and folding it towards the middle. Turn the bowl 90°and fold again. 
  • Repeat the folding and turning 6 more times (for a total of 8 folds and turns). Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. 
  • Repeat folding, turning and rising 2 more times for a total of 3 30-minute rises. 
  • Towards the end of the third rise, place a baking stone or an overturned baking sheet on the upper middle rack of the oven and pre-heat to 500°F.
  • Gently transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle some flour on the dough and divide in half. Shape each piece of dough into a 5” round by gently tucking under the edges. Don’t panic if the dough is extremely sticky, just flour your hands and the counter generously and resist the urge to add more flour to the dough itself. 
  • Coat 2 9” round pans with 2tbsp olive oil each. Sprinkle ½tsp salt in each pan. Gently slide the dough balls, seam side up into the pans. Gently move the dough around the pans to coat all sides with oil, and then flip them over. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. 
  • Using fingertips, press the dough out to the edges of the pan. Using a fork, poke the surface for 25 to 30 times, popping any large bubbles. Sprinkle evenly with rosemary; cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Place the pans on the baking stone and reduce the oven temperature to 450°F. Bake until tops are golden brown, for 25-28 minutes, switching placement of the pans halfway through baking. Transfer pans on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the bread from the pans and cool completely on the wire rack.

Enjoy as is or split and use as sandwich bread.


It was really awesome to see the holes in the bread – almost like store-bought bread, but much fresher and with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. A definite must-try for anyone who’s new to baking or anyone with an afternoon to kill.

Let’s check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked up for Day 1 of BM# 15.

Sending this over to Susan's YeastSpotting.
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24 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures. Very nicely done.

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  2. Welcome back Pavani. I really missed your wonderful pictures. So glad you are back blogging. Love those pictures and I am such a fan of this bread. If only I get that quite afternoon to knead a bread like this..will be looking fwd to your creations.

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  3. Looks perfectly baked...sounds flavourful!

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  4. waht a co incidence am baking focaccia too. this one looks so perfect with the fresh rosemary on top.

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  5. yummy and same pinch..if u havent noticed that i have posted the same thing today

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  6. The bread looks fab. I am addicted to bread baking at this juncture :D. Came across your blog through spice your life. I love focaccia but my hubby think otherwise so 1 haven't tried a baking this bread a second at home. Then i sa your and i go....ummm...just one more try...to change that darn man's mind ;). Lovely post!

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  7. perfectly baked.. and totally yummilicious :) Wonderful to see you back in the BM, Pavani :) Look forward to the week ahead on ur theme !


    Kalyani
    Sizzling Tastebuds
    Event : Pickles & Preserves Fest + Giveaway
    Event : CWS - Oats

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  8. Perfectly made bread Pavani. Lovely click. I am all for savory stuff.

    Vardhini
    CooksJoy

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  9. We love this bread i do mske this often, my kids love it very much, uou have done a good job

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  10. Beautiful looking bread,just love it..Rosemary is one of fav herbs..

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  11. amazing bread..looks really spongy.grt job!

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  12. Wow!!!looks so tempting and perfectly baked...

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  13. Tempting pictures for a wonderful bread. This procedure sounds very interesting too. I have never used a starter before.

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  14. I love rosemary..I love focaccia! So that's an amazing combo for me :)

    Thanks for posting!

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  15. What a lovely coincidence. I made focaccia too last weekend with cherry tomatoes, basil and garlic. Yours look delish and porous. perfect for a stuffed sandwich :-)

    Siri

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  16. Foccacia looks so nice. Beautiful snaps...

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  17. wow, love those pores.. looks so good. gonna try this

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  18. Well illustrated post.Focaccia looks just perfect. I love rosemary it is growing in my patio garden too.

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  19. Dropping in here after a long time. Lovely pictures and a great recipe

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  20. Looks perfect Pavani.Loved all the clicks :)

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  21. May be I will bake it during weekend.

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