Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cooking at home: Focaccia

We are obsessed with our new kitchen toy recently - the KitchenAid food processor. I always wanted one but never had the space for it, but finally, we decided, what the heck, let's try to make some room for it, so we did. Since we brought it home we have been using it almost every other day and keep asking why we didn't get this earlier.

One of the best thing I realize this food processor did best is bread making. Even better and convenient than the bread machine, you may ask? Yes, because of the many varieties it can make, plus I love getting my hands on my dough to feel it. I have already tried quite a few batches of bread recently, but focaccia is perhaps one of the easiest. It doesn't get your hands too dirty with messy dough and with the simplest ingredients. Basically focaccia is an Italian flat bread, just in case you wonder - it's very similar to a pizza dough but usually thicker and usually to be eaten without any toppings or cheeses.

The dough before it gets into the oven

Focaccia with Rosemary

Ingredients:

2 cup bread flour
2 cup general purpose flour
2 tsp sea salt plus more for sprinkle
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup olive oil plus more for drizzle
1 cup warm water
A handful of dried rosemary

(you can try varying the different proportion of bread flour/general purpose flour - I like mine a little lighter and fluffier so I used half and half) 

Steps:

1. Put the dry yeast into warm water for 5 minutes.

2. Put the flour into the mixing bowl, add salt and olive oil, mix well. Fix the mixing bowl to the food processor and fit in the paddle attachment. While in low mode, pour the yeast+water mixture into the bowl and mix until everything was combined.

3. Switch to the dough hook, turn up to medium mode and continue kneading, until the dough became stretchy and elastic (if you pokes the dough lightly it springs back then you are cool)

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead a few times by hand. Then slowly roll the dough into a large, flat, thin oval (around 12x8 inch - no need to be uniform shape though) and place on a lightly-floured baking tray. Cover the dough in cling film and leave it for at least an hour - the dough should double in size and turn more "pillowy". 

5. Preheat the oven to 190C. When the dough is ready to be baked, dip your finger in flour and then start poking holes in the dough. Press it way down to the bottom to make sure the holes stay in shape. Sprinkle dried rosemary and salt on the dough, and make sure some in the holes. Drizzle some olive oil on top before putting it in the oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. The bread should be well-risen and have this slightly brown crust when done. If you prefer it to be a bit more charred, turn up the heat to 210C and bake for 5 more minutes after it's done.

6. Remove from the oven and cool on a tray. It's best to eat on its own, or by dipping it into extra virgin olive oil.

Finished product





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