Sweet and Savory Focaccia

25 Oct

You know what’s funny?  When I try to do homework, I invariably end up on some food blog (including this one), planning a pie, or flipping through a cookbook.

(My desk, while attempting to prepare for a debate.  (Yes, my desktop background is pie.))

One minute it’s American art history, the next I’m trying to figure out how to combine blackberries and brownies (I’m getting there…)

How do you suppose that happens?

In any case, let me introduce you to my new cookbook, courtesy of my wonderful mother who sends the absolute best care packages:

Oh yeah.  Shit’s about to get real.

Also, I’m trying to figure out what I was wearing that would have facilitated a brown scarf and a pink-and-white striped shirt…  Very mysterious.

Now, the first thing I made out of this delightful book was homemade pasta, but I didn’t document the process.  Sorry.  Next time, maybe.

And so I bring to you instead, sweet and savory focaccia.  The recipe in the book is actually for rosemary focaccia, but I made one with cinnamon-sugar and chocolate chips, and another with mozzarella and bell peppers.  Hence the sweet and savory.  You can put pretty much anything you want on focaccia.  It’s a very versatile dough, and a joy to work with because it is not furiously sticky.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • Whatever toppings you want (I did a quarter cup of chocolate chips with cinnamon-sugar and two little bell papers with some strategically placed cheese)

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water, and let sit for five minutes.

From this:

To this:

Mix together the two flours and the 2 tsp of the salt in a large bowl.

Create a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture.

Stir in the milk and 3 tbsp of olive oil until it starts to look like dough.

Then dump it onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until all ingredients are incorporated.

Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and a dish towel, and let sit for 2 hours, or until the dough roughly doubles in size.

Punch the dough down and roll it out until it’s about an 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  Then place on a lightly greased baking pan, cover with a dish towel, and let rise for another 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Then, dimple the dough with you fingers like so:

If making a savory version:

Brush with the remaning olive oil, sprinkle the rest of the salt on top, and add your toppings.

If making a sweet version:

Brush with about a tablespoon of butter, sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on top, and press chocolate chips into the dough.

Bake until golden brown, or about 30 minutes.  If you accidentally overbake (as I did) and end up with kind of tough focaccia, you can just microwave it to soften it.  You can do this if you’re having leftovers, too.  Focaccia is meant to be eaten fresh, but you can store it in Tupperware as well.

And here you can see my very fancy Tupperware…

 

 

Today’s book recommendation is Stanley Tucci’s cookbook, which I used for this recipe.  I thought this guy couldn’t get any greater, and then he published a cookbook.  Craziness.  And not just any cookbook!  The food looks absolutely delicious, and there’s a great variation in traditional and more unconventional recipes.  Best of all, though, the recipes don’t require a lot of specialized ingredients so, as far as I can tell while reading it (maybe every night, what of it) the recipes are pretty affordable, too.  Also, the majority of the proceeds go to the New York Food Bank.  In other words, there’s no reason not to buy this book.

 

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