Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Whole Wheat Focaccia

Good afternoon all my lovely blog readers! Hope everyone is having an awesome day! It sure is hot in my neck of the desert?? :) I wouldn't be able to handle this heat without air conditioning.  Yesterday I made Whole Wheat Focaccia bread for the FIRST time, and it turned out amazing!  I followed a recipe from this book:
This book was published in 1996, so it is 15 years old!  I discovered this gem at Hastings while I was browsing through the healthy cooking isle.  It is used, sort of obvious being that old, and the price tag on it said.......$2.49! Wow, I just couldn't pass that up!  With more than 200 recipes! It's and oldie, but goodie.
There will be plenty of recipes coming from this book, considering the focaccia bread turned out great.  It was seriously really simple too. Most of the time it takes, is waiting for the bread to rise. You all have to try this! My husband loved it by the way.  We had it for dinner last night along with my simple spaghetti, that I will post tomorrow.
I followed her recipe, except for one thing which I will explain as we go.
Whole Wheat Focaccia
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or spelt flour, or 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour plus a little extra for kneading (I used all whole wheat flour)
  • 1 package(2 1/2TSP) active dry yeast
  • 1/2TSP sea salt
  • 3/4 cup nonfat yogurt or buttermilk (I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt)
  • 2TBLS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped(I used 3, we LOVE garlic)
  • 1 1/2TBLS extra virgin olive oil
  • 4TBLS dried herbs, such as thyme, oregano, basil, or rosemary (I only used 2TBLS, I really think 4 is over doing it.  I used 1TBLS thyme, and 1TBLS pizza sauce herb mix.  I had that left over from a previous meal I made, and it sounded like it would work perfectly)
  • 1/4TSP sea salt
  • Pitted Kalamata olives, halved(optional) (I didn't use any)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped(optional)(I didn't use any, but would probably be really good)
  • Feta cheese(optional)(I didn't use any, GASP! I know, but I wanted to experience Focaccia on it's own, simple and delicious)
Sift flour into a large mixing bowl and add the yeast and salt.
Gradually add the yogurt or buttermilk and oil until you have a kneadable dough. (the dough is kneadable when it is too stiff to stir and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl)
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding as much additional flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the kneading surface; it will be slightly softer and stickier than a regular yeast bread. (please don't look at my "really in need of lotion" hand, concentrate on the dough:))
Rinse the bowl in which you mixed the dough, then oil. Place the kneaded dough in the oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, from 45 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile in a small bowl mix the garlic, olive oil, herbs, and salt. Let the mixture sit until you are ready to bake the focaccia.
I snuck this cool picture while my dough was rising.

Punch the dough down. Knead it again and roll it out evenly to approximately the size of your baking sheet or pizza stone, shaping to a round loaf.  Transfer in onto an oiled baking sheet or a pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal. ( I don't know why she didn't put cornmeal on the ingredients list??) I poked holes in it before I put it on the baking sheet, oops.

I love how you can see the grains

Using your fingers, poke little holes about 1/4 inch deep all over the top of the dough at 1 inch intervals.  Spread the garlic mixture over the dough, allowing it to drip into the finger holes.  If desired, add olives and/or sun dried tomatoes.(Don't forget I only used 2TBLS of herbs. See how much that is??)

Let the dough rise in a warm place again until it has double in bulk, 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
When the dough has risen, place the baking pan or stone on a rack in the middle of the over and bake the focaccia until the bottom is light, crispy brown, 20 to 25 minutes.(Mine was done in 20 minutes)
If adding feta cheese, do so 5 minutes before removing the focaccia from the oven.  Remove the bread from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve warm.

This Focaccia was delicious! Let me know if you make this! You really should, it is so easy and SO good!
Question of the Day:

Have you done much bread baking, and if so, what is your favorite?

I haven't explored bread baking very much besides, banana bread, zucchini bread, that sort of thing.  This is the best savory bread I have made so far though.

Well you all have a great day, and I will see you tomorrow!

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