Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Focaccia (Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge)

This week's Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge resulted in a surprisingly wonderful focaccia. I've had supermarket focaccia before, and although I found it pleasant enough, it was never anything to write home about. Peter Reinhart's focaccia is not only worthy of writing home about, you might just want to call the local newspaper. It. Is. That. Good. Swear.

A couple of noteworthy mentions. If you make this, take the time to make the herb oil that he suggests. It really, really adds to the overall flavor of this bread. Also, eat it warm. Oh my holey-bread-dipped-in-oil goodness! It actually kind of reminded me of a croissant.... flaky, crispy, chewy, WOW! When it cooled, it was still delicious, but when I make this again, it will be timed to coincide with a meal.

I chose to make the poolish version. I used bread flour in my poolish, but I used Sir Lancelot flour in the final dough. The only toppings I added were the herb-infused oil and some sun-dried tomato pesto. And guess what? I FINALLY learned how to work with wetter dough. My ciabatta experience taught me that wetter is better. This stuff was all new to me folks. And now I know!
This one's a keeper, right up there with his cinnamon rolls.

Thanks Nicole... I'd still be bread-challenged if it wasn't for you!

17 comments:

susies1955 said...

Wonderful. I too loved the Focaccia.
If it wasn't so hot here I'd bake. LOL! We decided not to put the air conditioners in because we are leaving soon.
Have fun and your doing great,
Susie

Barbara Bakes said...

I had wonderful Focaccia in Italy, but have never baked it. You've inspired me!

stephchows said...

MUST PRINT RECIPE RIGHT NOW!!! wait.... where is the recipe?? I can't find the right link to it?? help!!! must bake now!

Moogie said...

Do you ever sleep? You must have a twin sister helping with the baking, and you are taking all the credit.

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said...

Your focaccia looks absolutely beautiful - better than the focaccia I typically buy at the store! The more BBA posts I read, the more I think I really need to learn to bake bread. Maybe you can come give me a lesson or two! :)

Mags said...

Susie: Don't you dare turn that oven on. You're going on vacation!

Barbara: I love it when I inspire people. Thanks!

Steph: I did some searching for you but couldn't come up with anyone who has the recipe posted. Part of our agreement when we joined the BBA challenge was that out of respect for Mr. Reinhart we would not publish the recipe on our blogs. If you really want the recipe I can type it out and email it to you. Just let me knoe, OK?

Moogie: You finally figured it out. And now you must die...lol

Jen: joining this challenge was the best thing I could have ever done to improve my bread-making skills. I really have come a long way.

susies1955 said...

LOL, I won't turn the oven on. It is SO very hot here. WHEW! Have a great August. :)
Susie

HoneyB said...

Looks yummy!

Cindy said...

Holey goodness is right! Wow that is an amazing crumb shot. Congrats on successfully mastering wet dough. You should be proud. It's a magnificent bread.

Mags said...

HoneyB: Thanks! And it was yummy!

Cindy: I thought the crumb shot was pretty awesome too. Thank you for commenting.

Mustang Terri said...

I love reading the post from other bread bakers. Your bread looks great. Can't wait to bake this bread.

Mags said...

Terri: You're going to love it.

Mustang Terri said...

Mags, I know that you like wheat bread. I made this bread for the third time this weekend... or maybe it was the fourth, doesn't matter. I was weighing out the flour and I only had 10 oz of hi-gluten flour. I put in 12 oz of whole wheat flour. The focaccia turned out great. I liked it as well as the first time.

Mags said...

Terri: That is great to know. Thanks for the information. I'll most certainly try that the next time I make focaccia.

Leilani said...

Do you have this recipe to share? I would love it! Thank you!

Leilani

Mags said...

Leilani: Part of our agreement when we joined the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge was that we would not post the recipes on our blogs out of respect for the book's author, Peter Reinhart. I'm sorry!

TweetNSleep said...

I found a history of Focaccia Bread. It's a member of a family of common Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flat breads. I had know idea it had so many uses and was so good for you. I included the link.

http://focacciabreads.com/2011/01/focaccia-bread-a-brief-history.htm