Cooking Hussy

Tasty

GUEST CHEF: Rachel’s Herbed Focaccia November 26, 2007

Filed under: Bread/Muffins,Vegetarian — cookinghussy @ 11:23 am

herbed-focaccia.jpg

This is from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld.

2 c. lukewarm water (105-110 F)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
1/4 c. fresh chopped oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 c unbleached bread flour (I used all purpose flour and it seemed to work), plus additional as needed
3 T. extra virgin olive oil

1. Dough and first rise – Pour the water into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast and let sit for several minutes. Add half the herbs to the yeasted water. Cover the remaining herbs with a damp paper towel and refridgerate. Stir the salt and flour into the yeast mixture to form a soft dough. Knead for 8 minutes with the dough hook
or paddle at medium speed, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface until it is elastic and satiny, about 8-10 minutes. The dough should be very soft and will stick to the bottom of the electric mixer bowl as it is kneaded, but if it is too sticky to pull away from the sides of the bowl after 5 minutes of kneading, add another quarter cup
of flour. If kneading by hand, add only as much flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and a clean towel, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 90-120 minutes.

2. Second rise – In another large bowl, stir the olive oil and remaining oregano together and spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the bowl. Punch down the dough and scoop it into the second bowl on top of the herb mixture. Let the dough rise again until doubled, about 40 minutes.

3. Forming the loaf – Place a baking stone in the center rack of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Without punching down the dough, turn it out onto the parchment so that the oiled and herbed side is up. Use your fingertips to poke the dough while at the same time pulling it out to a 12-inch oblong. The dough will deflate a little, but try to keep as much rise as possible. Use a paper towel to blot away oil that drips down the side. Let the dough sit and rise again for about 15 minutes.

4. Baking – Trim the edges of the parchment around the dough with scissors. Set the edge of the cookie sheet next to the baking stone, and then carefully grab an edge of parchment and slide it with the dough off the cookie sheet and onto the baking stone. Bake the bread until golden brown on top and well browned on the bottom, about 25
minutes. It will puff a bit more in the oven. Remove the loaf from the oven with a large spatula and cool on a wire rack at least 10 minutes. Slice into rectangles or break at the table.

Note – This was my first bread, and it was easy! I was disappointed only because most of the herbs on top fall off when you handle the bread. I would mix more into the dough and put less on top next time. Also, I don’t think I poked nearly enough because I was afraid of deflating, and as a result its not so much a focaccia texture.

Also note that you can use an herb mixture instead of one herb. Recommended is – 2 T rosemary, 2 T. sage, t T thyme, savory or oregano, all coarsely chopped.

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