4 hours ago
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
I haven't baked bread in forever.
My yeast expired in 2013 and my bread flour was unopened in the garage pantry and almost ready to be thrown out if I didn't use it soon.
It was time to get back into it.
I had never made focaccia bread and it was about time I tried it. I've always been so intimidated by focaccia.
Jim Lahey to the rescue.
You know I love his book called MY BREAD, and have had great success baking bread when I was always yeast challenged.
His No Knead recipe has turned me into a bread baker.
There is literally no skill involved here, you just have to have patience......which I definitely don't have, so luckily the bread makes itself while I am sleeping.
It's a science thing going on here......so don't ask me how it works. You can read about that on someone else's blog, all I know is that this was so good, that I am hooked.
I have no bread machine, no bread hook attachment, it's just me, my hands and I, and a big glass Pyrex bowl.
I was worried that the expired yeast would not rise the dough while I was sleeping, but when I woke up to check on it, there it was, the dough had filled the bowl and doubled in size. The hell w/ expiration dates (in this case, anyway).
I decided to make a topping of cherry tomatoes, sauteed onions, fresh rosemary and kalamata olives.
Oh, so good.
I am going out tomorrow to buy some new packets of instant yeast so I can get back into it.
I have found a new love.
Jim Lahey's No Knead Focaccia: (adapted from MY BREAD & Serious Eats)
500 grams (17 1/2 ounces, about 3 1/4 cups) all-purpose or bread flour (I used King Arthur Bread Flour)
15 grams (.5 ounces) 1 tbsp kosher salt
4 grams (.15 ounces) 1/2 tsp instant yeast (I used Fleischmann's)
325 grams (11 1/2 ounces) 1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon cool water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup of halved cherry or grape tomatoes
4 oz. of kalamata olives, sliced
handful of fresh rosemary needles
1 small onion, sauteed in olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
Combine flour, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl (I use a big glass Pyrex bowl). Mix with hands or a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains. The bowl should be at least 4 to 6 times the volume of the dough to account for rising.
Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, making sure that edges are well-sealed, then let rest on the countertop for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Dough should rise dramatically and fill bowl. I let my dough rise for 16 hours, and it was perfect timing.
Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour, then transfer it to a lightly-floured work surface. Form into a ball by holding it with well-floured hands and tucking the dough underneath itself, rotating it until it forms a tight ball.
Pour half of oil in the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Transfer dough to pan, turn to coat in oil, and position seam-side-down. Using a flat palm, press the dough around the skillet, flattening it slightly and spreading oil around the entire bottom and edges of the pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough stand at room temperature for 2 hours. I had a tough time adhering the plastic wrap to the cast iron, so I laid the plastic wrap on top, then covered w/ a 12" pot lid!
About an hour before baking, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 550°F. You want a really hot oven.
At the end of the 2 hours, dough should mostly fill the skillet up to the edge. Use your fingertips to press it around until it fills every corner, popping any large bubbles that appear. Lift up one edge of the dough to let any air bubbles underneath escape and repeat, moving around the dough until there are no air bubbles left underneath and the dough is evenly spread around the skillet.
Place your toppings over the dough, and press down, otherwise the olives and tomatoes will most likely fall off the bread after baking.
Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the pan and sprinkle w/ kosher salt.
Bake for 16 minutes (the recipe says up to 24 minutes, but mine was done perfectly at the 16 minute mark).
The bottom of the bread should be nice and crisp. Remove with a heavy spatula and slice into wedges.
This was fantastic!