Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Yesterday I also made Focaccia bread for dinner. After reading about The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge/book on Pinch My Salt for months, I finally broke down and bought the book before the move. I made sure to put it in an easily accessible bag so I wouldn't have to dig for it once I got here. Peter talks about the importance of good flour in the book and I ended up buying three different types, all King Arthur brand. I originally bought all purpose flour because I thought that was what I needed for focaccia, but it calls for bread flour so on my second trip to the grocery I picked up that and also some white whole wheat for some wheat bread later on! I'm so excited to have a kitchen again where I get to make the meals. It's so absolutely satisfying to eat a great meal you'd made from scratch.

I kind of started in the middle of the book, but that's okay. I'm also not saying that I'm doing the challenge per se, just that I was inspired by all the magnificent breads that she was making. I was jealous! So, focaccia. It's a bit of a process to make, but it's not difficult. I made the dough on Sunday night and left it in the refrigerator over night, as per the instructions in the book.

Pre-proof w/ toppings.

I am so excited to be making focaccia! It takes me straight back to Italy, because more often than not, this is the type of 'pizza' that you will see there. It's everywhere. It's a great to-go snack or meal and the toppings range from potatoes to olives to tomatoes or whatever. I decided to go all out for this pizza style foccacia, and my toppings are sun dried tomatoes, fresh roasted garlic, caramelized onions, capers (only on one, as the boyfriend doesn't like them), and feta cheese. All of these toppings except for the feta are the pre-proof variety, meaning that they go on the focaccia right after it comes out of the refrigerator, before it rises. The feta goes on right before baking.

Pre-bake, w/ Feta

***Okay, so I was writing this post before I baked the focaccia. I took pictures of it, added the feta cheese, preheated the oven and put it in there. I was smelling something burning but I thought it might just be the parchment paper on the sides (I trimmed them, but apparently not enough). So, what actually happened was that the bottom of the focaccia were burned. I mean like black. Not the "Okay, so it's a little dark" burned. BURNED. My day and a half of prep as well as roasting the garlic, caramelizing the onions, and making the herb oil was done! The bread wasn't even finished! I ended up taking it out and doubling the pan to give it some protection and putting it in the oven one at a time.

THEN I went to go take a swig of my red wine and, you guessed it, I spilled it on the brand new table cloth and 2 of the brand new placemats. ARGH!

THEN... when I was putting the first focaccia on the countertop so I could finish baking the second, I DROPPED IT ON THE FLOOR.

All of these things happened in the space of about 10 minutes and I said a few very choice words. We had salad and the non-floor focaccia for dinner. I had to cut off the burnt bottom.

The focaccia would have been EXCELLENT if not for the burning. It was tender and the crust would have been crisp. *sigh*

So, there is no photo of the finished focaccia because it pissed me off.

I think I figured out the problem was that the pans were touching the sides of the oven because I had them on the same rack (the middle rack). This happened last night when I was roasting sweet potatoes for my sweet potato enchiladas too. *sigh* At least now I know. The oven runs a little hot, and never EVER let the pans touch the sides of the oven. Got it. Tomorrow I will try again to roast vegetables. If this is also thwarted, I will be contacting the rental office about fixing or replacing the oven (it's ancient).

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