Will and I broke out of our comfort zone. Instead of making Irish Soda Bread or Naan, we have now made Focaccia!! It was a recipe that required some overnight planning, but all things considered, our first attempt came out pretty well. We figured we should start with a fairly simple recipe, so we chose a no-knead one from Budget Bytes. After a few attempts of getting the right water to flour portions, Will finally got the dough ready to sit in the fridge overnight.
When we took it out of the fridge this afternoon, it already smelled pretty good. And then when I picked it up to spread it on the baking sheet, I had a new experience: I didn’t need tons of extra flour to deal with it! Our refrigerator practically froze the dough, which prevented it from getting really sticky, quickly. I was able to push and shove it to fit on the baking sheet, before Will doused it in olive oil and Italian Seasoning and our favorite Pampered Chef: Garlic Peppercorn Rub (if you’ve never tried it, find a PC rep and order some immediately! We put this on EVERYTHING). We let it rise for about an hour (well, actually we had a power outage, so we waited a couple hours until we could turn the oven on again) and then put finger hole prints in it and stuck it in the oven for about 25 minutes. We let it cool on a wire rack and then we tasted it and dipped it in some olive oil for extra pizzaz. All in all, not a bad first attempt and definitely something we can make for sandwich bread in the future.
No-Knead Focaccia (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 8-10)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp corn meal
The night before, combine the flour, salt and yeast in a large pot or bowl. Stir until everything is evenly combined and then stir in the water. The result should be one cohesive, sticky, shaggy lump of dough. If there is still dry flour in the pot or everything isn’t sticking together, add a little water at a time until it forms one ball. Loosely cover and let sit at room temperature until the next day (about 14 hours).
The next day the dough will be wet, fluffy and may even be bubbling from the fermentation. Using a spatula, scrape the dough from the sides of the pot or bowl and turn it in on itself a few times until it forms a ball in the center of the pot. Prepare a baking sheet with foil, non-stick spray and a generous sprinkle of corn meal. Dust your hands with flour and sprinkle a little on top to keep it from sticking to your hands. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Stretch and pat the dough out into a large rectangle. You may need to dust your hands with flour throughout this process to keep the dough from sticking (a partner in the kitchen will help!). It will be very wet and sticky. Drizzle olive oil over the surface of the dough and use a soft brush to spread it evenly over the surface. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning (or any herbs) over top. Let the dough rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using your fingers, press dimples into the risen dough. Bake the focaccia for 20-25 minutes or until the surface is golden brown. After removing form the oven, transfer the focaccia to a wire rack to cool.
Recipe: Budget Bytes: No Knead Focaccia