Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fantastic Focaccia ~ #Recipe From The First Course at @Olive_That

Focaccia is an Italian Bread that is similar to pizza but much thicker, akin to Sicilian Style pizza. Focaccia is often topped with herbs, a bit of meat or cheese, or even fresh vegetables that 'roast' on top as the bread bakes. It is often cut into long slices similar to bread sticks or sliced on the horizon to make incredible paninnis.

At the first culinary demonstration at Olive That And More in Upper Montclair, the theme of the evening was Focaccia. Using a basic recipe, we made a plain Focaccia as well as varietals switching out the traditional Olive Oil for some of the flavor infused varieties the store offers. Details of the variations appear after the basic recipe.
Basic Focaccia Recipe
2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water 
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting


 In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stovetop or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with more olive oil. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes.
Lemon Focaccia : Using Lakoniko Lemon Olive Oil instead of tradtional gave the bread a light, fresh lemony taste. So comforting and pairs well with Brie.
Tuscan Herb Focaccia : Using Tuscan Herb infused olive oil we created a a somewhat traditional focaccia. Pretty much everyone in attendence agreed, when cubed this variation would be a great base for a holiday stuffing or dressing. (It's also great just to dip in Olive Oil)
Toppers : If using a traditional EVOO, consider topping the focaccia with carmelized shallots, halved grape tomatoes, or even shredded Parmesan just before baking.
The next culinary demonstration at Olive That and More  is "Holiday Sweets and Treats" on Wednesday 12 December at 7pm. Call the store at 973-744-7175 to reserve a spot at this free event. (Of course everything we do that evening will incorporated Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, or Sea Salt in ways you never thought possible)