It’s no secret that I admire Lana from Bibberche—heck, I dedicated a whole post to her once—and it’s no secret that I love bread, so this week, when the two met in my kitchen (not literally, more’s the pity), it was made of pure win, if you ask me.
See, the story goes like this:
- Lana (@Bibberche) makes a beautiful post about her foodie daughter that happens to also be about focaccia
- James and I remember that I’ve been meaning to learn to make focaccia, and hey, this looks so easy!
- Joy ensues.
At first, I followed the recipe in Lana’s post almost to the letter. I tend to do that when I’m making an unfamiliar food, especially a baked good. I don’t usually bake using a sponge, but I figured what the heck, looks easy enough. I did cut back on the quantities of red pepper flakes and salt in the topping, and added a dusting of granulated garlic, but otherwise, I carefully followed directions. This is what I got (click the thumbnails to enlarge):
The little salad is cubes of whole-milk mozzarella tossed with marinated roasted tomatoes, anchovy-stuffed olives, and pepperoni.
Forever, to my kid, focaccia is the Sicilian one I used to make for after school snacks for her and friends. It was basically an Italian dough (flour, salt, yeast, water and oil) [spread] out on a baking sheet and allowed to rise a bit. Cubes of treasures were poked into it, like salame, cheese, onion, garlic, tomato, then a sprinkle of olive oil and coarse salt, then a bit more rising and then baked at a very high temperature so that the dough sprang up and nearly surrounded the cubes.
When she comes here and gets focaccia in Tuscany or Umbria she says, “That’s not focaccia. I remember focaccia. How come you never make me focaccia anymore?”
Isn’t that a lovely Mom Food vignette? Isn’t it great that mine isn’t the only bratty grown child? [Judith's focaccia posts]
At any rate, I couldn’t wait! Though we had had focaccia just the day before, I set to work to make Judith’s version. And oh, my family is still praising me for it:
I seeded some tomatoes (but didn’t peel them; that’s a rare task around here), and chopped some red onion finely. The cheese was Mexican queso, which is very much like a buttery mozzarella (you may remember it from last Wednesday’s Caprese salad). And in a stroke of genius, I enlisted my bread machine to knead the dough, just to see if it would come out well.
It came out VERY well. I forgot to put strips of fresh basil on top at the end, but it was still marvelous.
This focaccia is a new standard around here. I am happy with how it looked, tasted, and pleased the family.
It’s cheap, easy, and impressive. And yeah, those are my favorite things.
(And now I can hear James saying, “Not as cheap, easy, and impressive as YOU, my love!” Silly man.)
Focaccia with treasures (bread machine and oven)
If you want to make the dough by hand, by all means, follow the recipe at Bibberche. It’s the same ingredients.
For the dough:
470 g water
660 g flour
20 g coarse sea salt
13 g sugar
7 g yeast
“treasures”—cubes of anything you like: tomatoes, onions, meat, cheese, veggies, whatever
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
For the dough, place dough ingredients into your bread machine in the order recommended, then use the dough cycle. Prepare a large baking pan (I used 16×12 inches) by pouring the 1/4 cup olive oil on the pan and tilting the pan around until it’s completely covered in oil.
When the dough is ready, pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Plop the dough out of the bread machine onto the pan. No need to worry about how it looks; just let it rest for a couple minutes, then pat it out using dampened hands or a silicone spatula until it fills all or most of the pan. When that’s done, quickly lift the dough and flip it so the other side gets oiled, as well, and re-pat for a moment so everything’s fairly even.
Place your “treasures” onto the dough and press them in with your fingers, then sprinkle the spices and salt over the top. You may also add a little drizzle of olive oil if any areas look like they’re not sufficiently moistened.
Bake 10 minutes, then turn the pan if your oven is like mine and not completely even. Turn the heat down to 400°F and bake 5-10 minutes more, or until golden brown.