observations, ideas and inspiration... from my pennsylvania home, garden, kitchen, and studio

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

On cold January days all I want to do is make homemade soups, stews, and breads.

Last year I was on a quest to make a good crusty rustic Italian bread. I am sorry to say that I am still trying BUT on this baking adventure, I did figure out a pretty good focaccia recipe. 

Dino's Nona would always make focaccia, or pizza as they called it, with potato, it really gives the bread a good rich flavor.  I started with that.  I tried different ways, even using the potato water.I found just boiling a potato and grating it worked the best.  I am very happy with my final product ~ although it will never compare to Nona's...I wonder what her secret was?

Rosemary Focaccia

1 potato peeled and quartered
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (don't be afraid of the yeast please)
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp olive oil plus more for bowl and pan.  Extra virgin is best.
1 1/4 tsp salt

Bring a quart of water to a boil in saucepan; add potato and simmer until tender.  Drain and let cool until it can be handled.  Grate on the large holes of grater and set aside.

Make a starter....In a large bowl, mix the yeast, 1/2 cup of the flour, and 1/2 cup of the warm water with a wooden spoon until combined.  Cover with plastic wrap, and set a plate on top...it needs to be sealed tightly.  Set aside for about 20 minutes until bubbly.

[my baking buddy]
When starter is ready, still using the wooden spoon, add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and mix for about 5 minutes.  Then add 1 1/4 cups more of the flour, the shredded potatoes, olive oil, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup of warm water; continue mixing until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead in remaining 1/4 cups of flour for 5 minutes.  The dough should be sticky (not gooey) and elastic.  Transfer dough to to an oiled bowl, turn to coat with oil, and cover tightly with plastic wrap and towel on top. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in size.  About 1 hour.

When ready, with lightly oiled hands, press dough into a very well oiled cookie sheet.  I used a baking stone....it's 10 x 15. Cover again with plastic wrap and towel and let rise until doubled ~ 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and make topping if desired. 

This focaccia is great plain also, the one thing you have to remember is not to go crazy with the toppings, less is better.  When I make mine plain, I just brush on some olive oil before and after baking.

For rosemary topping, I used about 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, 1 1/4 tsp sea salt.  (I use Maldon salt, my newest favorite thing!)

When dough is done rising, dimple the dough with your fingers deeply.  Drizzle the dough with the olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary and salt.

Bake about 20 - 25 minutes until crust is golden on bottom.  Transfer to wire rack, brush with a little more olive oil,  and cool slightly.  Cut into squares and serve warm ~ oh my!

*To store, wrap in plastic and then foil.  We also love to slice through the middle of a square and toast.  It's so good.

p.s. you can find the Roasted Chicken and Butternut Soup recipe here.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy! Happy! Happy 2014! It's a New Year.

This image popped up today on pinterest and it truly feels how I feel about you all.  

Thank you everyone of you for visiting, reading, and commenting on my blog.  It means so much to me.  

Wishing you all the best year ahead.  I'm looking forward to it!

With love ~ Jenn

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