I was such a mess in the morning that when I (ran) to the New Seasons down the street, I brought home a savory scone and chocolate croissant for my husband. Food is a great apology.
Once the girls arrived and the mimosas got poured it was a great afternoon and both focaccias were delish. I have the pictures to show how to make one of them, but with the self-induced craziness, I gave up on the other.
Yea. This was my kitchen at around Noon. See that bowl to the left? It’s full of the burned pieces. Because again, it was me baking.
But hey, once I got through all that, they did turn out pretty delicious.
The focaccia to the back is the style that I know and love and the one I’ll describe. The ones in the forefront were delightfully light and airy and squishy and soft pillows of saltiness. But they’re not what I think of as focaccia. I’ll make it again for sure, but I’ll probably give it a different name. Soft Squishy Salt Pillows could work.
First, you’ll need to activate your yeast. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to warm water.
Then add some quick rising yeast. 2 1/4 teaspoons (that’s equivalent to one ‘packet’).
Kind of like that.
Transfer to floured surface and knead a few more times by hand. If it’s sticky, add flour.
Oil up a bowl that can fit the dough doubled.
Plop the dough into the oiled bowl then flip it over to get maximum oil-ness.
Cover in plastic wrap and then let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about an hour. Of course this meant my husband’s office which has apparently become the only room in the house we’re ok with turning the heat up in. Because a properly risen dough and activated yeasts are more important to us than not wearing a winter coat in the house. Don’t judge.
The dough should double in size. I didn’t take a picture of this. Then you oil the sheet pan(s) with oil, generously. Also did not take a picture of this. Use your imagination.
Roll your dough out onto the oiled pan so that it about fills the pan. I did not do a good job of this, clearly. I was kind of in a rush. Add more oil. Focaccia is really all about the ‘excessive’ (bah) oil. It adds to the flavor and creates that’s reminiscent of a Chicago style pizza crust. So the recipe I was following said to roll it out on one pan. I opted to separate it in two. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to let them rise again before I wanted them to go in the oven, so I planned to put the smaller guy aside to deal with it later when it was properly risen. Sometimes I actually do think and plan ahead.
Before you leave it to rise again, dimple you dough. This is what creates that ‘signature’ focaccia look. So simple, right? I used to think that they were a complex reaction of the dough and ingredients and cooking; an Italian bread making style legacy. Don’t judge.
So here’s where I gave up on documentation. The dough should rise another hour and about double in size. I can’t remember how much time I gave it, probably only 30 or 40, and it definitely didn’t double. But, later in the day after the ladies had left and I was looking for an excuse to not clean, I remembered I had the smaller dough still in our little dough haven.
By this time it had finished rising nicely. So I coarsely chopped some fresh rosemary and generously sprinkled kosher salt over it, re-pre-heated our oven to 425 degrees, and I baked this lone focaccia for about 25 mins.
Until lightly browned. Like this. In reality (dammit, Emma!), I probably would have liked it a teeny bit little less brown.
Finalmente. Focaccia. Thin with a soft center, nice and crispy, a slight hint of oil, crunchy bottom, and salty rosemary deliciousness. I know I’ll never make focaccia like I had in Italy, but it still reminded me of the little podere in Tuscany where we’d take “Eleven-zees” when our host would return from the market with warm, just baked, crispy, thin focaccia for our 11 am break from working on their farm. We’d put down our tools and gather together while we crunched and chewed on the warm bread. Ironically, those 11 ams were nothing close to the chaos surrounding these focaccias, but it gives me more incentive to make them again and share that type of moment and memories with my husband. And, with enough practice, not have any pans that need scrubbing.