Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rosemary Focaccia

Submitted by Emily Daniel
For cooking club I ditched the rosemary, halved the salt and spread the top with Nutella. It was so-so. I made the original recipe for scripture study group, so some of you have tasted it. This is the most Italian-like focaccia recipe I've been able to find. Read the recipe all of the way through before you start. It takes about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish, and you want to be able to maximize your time.

1 medium baking potato, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 tsp yeast
3 1/2 C unbleached all purpose flour
1 C warm water
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl and pan

2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

For the dough:
1. Boil the potato for about 25 minutes. Drain, and let cool until you can hold it to grate it. Reserve 1 1/3 C lightly packed grated potato
2. Meanwhile, using a standing mixer, mix the yeast, 1/2 C flour and 1/2 C warm water until combined. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit until bubbly. (About 20 minutes). Add the remaining dough ingredients, including the reserved potato. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together. (the recipe has you use a paddle for this part and then switch to a dough hook for the next part, but I just use the dough hook all the way through). Using the dough hook, increase the speed to medium and kneed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until the dough has doubled, about 1 hour.
4. With wet hands, press the dough flat into a generously oiled 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 rimmed baking sheet. If the dough resists going into the corners (and it probably will), cover it with a damp cloth and let it relax for 15 minutes before trying to stretch again. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and doubled, about 1 hour.
5. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. With two wet fingers, dimple the risen dough at regular intervals. The dimples should be deep enough to hold small pieces of topping, herbs and pools of olive oil.
6. For the topping, drizzle the dough with the oil and sprinkle evenly with rosemary and coarse salt, landing some in the pools of oil.
7. Bake until the bottom crust is golden brown and crisp. 23-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Cut into squares, serve warm.

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