Monday, May 16, 2005

Parmesan-Herb Focaccia

Parmesan-Herb Focaccia (Adapted from Eating Well)

2 cups bread flour
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups icy cold water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, salt and yeast. Vigorously stir in water, scraping down the sides until the dough it thoroughly combined. Check the dough - it should be fairly stiff and barely moist. If too dry, add just a little extra icy water - if too wet, stir in just enough flour to stiffen slightly. Scrape down sides again, lightly coat the top with cooking spray and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set dough aside to rise for 12 to 18 hours, stirring once halfway through.

Spray a 9" x 13" baking pan with cooking spray - line bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, then coat the paper with cooking spray. Stir the dough just until it deflates - and sprinkle 1 tablespoon chopped herbs over the dough (don’t stir them in). Invert dough into the pan (you want the herbs on the bottom. Drizzle the top of the dough with oil and press the dough out until it fills the pan and is evenly thick. If it wants to spring back at you, set aside to rest for 5 or 10 minutes, then continue. Scatter the top with remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan, herbs and fennel seeds - lightly press them down to adhere. Cover pan with saran wrap and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size.

About a half hour before baking, preheat oven to 500 degrees with a rack placed in the lowest position. Remove the plastic wrap and lightly spritz the top of the dough with water - with oiled hands, gently insert your fingertips all over the top of the dough to make deep indentations. Scatter the top evenly with sea salt.

Place pan into the oven and reduce temperature to 475 degrees - bake until golden brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes before slicing to serve.

Makes about 9 to 12 servings.

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  1. Hi Joe
    Can you confirm that comment that this is a stiff dough - just that most of the focaccia doughs that I have seen are pretty moist....?

  2. Deb - Thanks!

    Pauline - Yes... during mixing, it should end up fairly stiff with this bread.

  3. At the beginning of the recipe of mixing, can you use your mixer on the mixing?

    I like to try this recipe, but unsure about the fairly stiff but barely moist. What does that look like. Is it crumbly. Does it come together at all. Take a photo the next time you do this recipe again. Sorry, I'm an amateaur at bread making.

  4. Anon - you are not trying to knead the dough, so it is best done with just a wooden spoon. You are just incorporating the ingredients... that is it!

    No it should definitely not be crumbly - it should be complete cohesive. Stiff and barely moist means that the dough should be firm to the touch and tacky, but not overly sticky or dry either.