Focaccia II, the sequel

Posted on September 17, 2011

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I have been making focaccia for several years.  I take a loaf out of the oven, and it is gone by the end of the day.  Often in an hour or less.  I make this version of Focaccia all the time, and I stand by it, but I recently came across a more authentic technique and I am really loving the results.  So, here is the slightly modified version with more pictures to go with it!

Start by first making a brine, or salamoia. 

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c. water

1 1/s tsp. sea salt

Whisk ingredients together until the oil emulsifies.  If will thicken.  It should just take a minute or two.

Now, make the bread.

3 cups warm water (NOT hot)

3 tsp. yeast

3 tsp. sea salt

6 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

Measure the water into a bowl.

Stir in all the yeast until it is mostly dissolved.

Add the salt and light stir another minute or so.

Then stir in 3 cups of the flour until it turns into a paste, although a lumpy paste.

Then stir in the additional 3 cups of flour until incorporated.  Don’t knead or over stir.  It will be wet and gloppy, like this:

Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let rise for one hour.

After the hour is up, prepare a sheet cake pan with a spray of Pam and about 1 T. olive oil.  Spread the oil all over.  Then very gently, using a dough scraper or spatula, scoop the dough on to the pan.  You don’t want to ruin the bubbles.  Then, with oiled hands, gently pull and shape the dough, making indentations in the top as you go, over the surface of the pan.  Rustic is good–it does not have to look perfect.  Then pour the brine all over it and let it sit for about 20 minutes while the oven pre-heats to 500 degrees.  A sprinkling or chopped fresh rosemary is the classic topping.

The bread has been resting for about 20 min. There is just a bit of liquid left that has not been absorbed.

Stick in your 500 degree oven, on the middle rack, and let cook for 15 minutes or so until the bread is browned all over.  Once cooked, dislodge the bread from the pan with a spatula on to a cooling rack so the bottom does not get soggy.  Serve as soon as it can be handled without causing grievous injury.

I couldn't get a picture before everyone started digging in!

Cooking the Focaccia with the brine and letting it rest once on the pan yields a loaf with a beautiful, chewy crust and soft, fluffy inside.  It really is an excellent method.

It was just us girls home for the night so I thought I might end up with leftovers…but alas, my teenage son and his friend stopped by and that was the end of that.

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