Bread

Focaccia Bread

I have been wanting to make a good focaccia bread that is light and airy and a little bit chewy, so have been researching blogs, artisan websites, and bookstores.  I found a site with a video that explained some of the terms, like preferment and poolish, and showed what it takes to make a great focaccia.  I made some last Saturday and it turned out just like I wanted.  I followed the directions I found at http://breadhealthy.com/artisan-bread/focaccia-recipe/focaccia-master-class-part-1-preferment but added a few ingredients.  It was snowing hard Saturday and I didn’t have any bread drink that Chef Keem uses in his video, so I substituted water.  I’ll plan farther ahead next time and buy some and report the difference; maybe the difference is in the nutritional value.

Here is the recipe I used, technique adapted from  Chef Keem’s as shown on his website.

Focaccia Recipe

Preferment:                                                                      

1 ¾ cups water (80 degrees)
¼ cup probiotic drink: Kombucha or bread drink (I didn’t have any so substituted water)
2 cups of bread flour
1 package dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar

Dough:

1 cup water (80 degrees)
3 cups bread flour
1 package dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
Preferment from above
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (next time I’ll use about 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic)
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp thyme
2/3 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped

Instructions for making the preferment or poolish:
Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, consistency should be like a pancake batter.  Cover the bowl and poolish with a plastic bag and set aside for 5 or 6 hours, stirring occasionally in a folding motion.

Making the focaccia dough:
Mix together all above ingredients with about 100 beats of spoon, using a turning rather than a beating technique.  Cover with a bag and let the dough rest about an hour.  Pull the dough away from the side of the bowl and drizzle a little olive oil between the dough and the bowl.  Pull and fold the dough 4 to 8 times with well-oiled hands, as seen on Chef Keem’s video.  If you haven’t watched his video, please do, because his explanations are very helpful.  Let the dough rest and pull and fold it again, then rest and fold one more time, letting it rest about an hour between each folding.
Prepare a couple large cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper and drizzling some olive oil on them.  Oil your hands, divide the dough, place on the prepared cookie sheets, and gently work it with your fingertips to stretch it, let as many air bubbles as you can remain in the dough, drizzle some olive oil on top of the dough (about ¼ cup).  Let it rest a few minutes, then work with it some more.  To cover most of the pan, it will take two or three rest periods.  Let it raise, undisturbed for an hour or so, then bake it in a preheated 500° oven.  Start checking after 15 minutes to see if it is done. Turn down the heat to 425° the last 5 minutes.  Mine took about 20 minutes to bake.

You can add a cheese or topping if you wish, before and during the baking process.  Watch Chef Keem’s video for hints on adding toppings.
Enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 Focaccia Bread No Comments

Cornmeal Pancakes

When my son was in kindergarten, his teacher would make treats for the class once a month.  This is one of the first treats she had the children help make.  The pancakes are like a light cornbread and have been a favorite of my family for years.

1 1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs. butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients and wisk until combined; cornmeal through sugar.  In a seperate bowl wisk eggs, slightly, to break them up.  Add Milk, egg, and melted butter to dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Add more milk if the batter is too thick, it should be slightly thinner than regular pancake batter.

Heat a skillet to medium heat, melt 1 tsp. butter on skillet and pour on a couple spoonfulls of batter. When the pancake starts bubbling and the edges are starting to look dry, check to see if they are browning, if so flip the pancake over and continue cooking until done. Continue process until all pancake batter is used up. When the batter thickens, add more milk to thin it down.

If the skillet is too hot, the pancakes will burn and not cook through, if not hot enough, they will not brown and not cook.  Keep pancakes warm by covering them and putting them in a 200 degree warm oven.

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Saturday, November 21st, 2009 Cornmeal Pancakes No Comments

Hawaiian Sweet Bread

1 pkg. yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk, warm
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup pineapple juice (room temp.)
3 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup plain mashed potato flakes
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Dissolve yeast in water.  Stir in warm milk, egg, butter and vanilla.  Add 1 cup of flour and mix well.  Add warm pineapple juice, mixing well.  Mix in the potato flakes, sugar, salt, and ginger.  Add more flour until you have a soft dough.  Place on floured board and knead for about 5 minutes.  Return to the bowl that has been lightly oiled,  Cover and let raise until double.  Punch down and let raise again.  Turn oven on to 350.  Knead bread lightly and divide in half.  Cover dough and let rest 5 minutes.  Form into 2 round loaves, place on oiled cookie sheet and let rise until double in size.  Bake loaves 25-35 minutes or until light brown and hollow sounding when tapped.  Remove from cooking sheet and place on wire cooling rack.  lightly butter the loaves and let cool.

This recipe can be made in a bread machine.  Put dry yeast on the bottom of the mixing container.  Next add the flour and other dry ingredients.  Mix together the wet ingredients and add to the mixing container.  Turn the bread machine on manual and let it mix and raise the dough. Remove from bread machine before cooking cycle and divide in half.  Let rest and shape into two round loaves.  Follow the directions above for cooking.

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Friday, November 20th, 2009 Bread, Hawaiian Sweet Bread No Comments

Dill Bread

1 pkg yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup sour cream (room temp.)
1 egg beaten
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. instant minced onion
1 Tbs. butter, softened
2 tsp. dill
1/4 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
2 3/4 to 3 cups flour

Desolve yeast in warm water.  Mix sour cream, egg, sugar,minced onion, and soft butter together. Mix in yeast mixture. Add 2 cups flour, dill, soda, and salt, mix well.  Continue adding flour and mixing until you have a soft dough.  Remove from bowl and knead on a floured board.  knead for around 5 to 8 minutes.  lightly oil the bowl and return the dough to it, cover and let rise until double in size.  Punch down and let rise until double again.  Knead the dough lightly and divide in half, cover and let rest 5 minutes.Turn on the oven to 350. Form into a round loaf, place on greased baking sheet, cover and let rise till double in size.  Bake in preheated oven 25-35 minutes or until the bread is a golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from oven place on a wire cooling rack.
Brush with melted butter and cool.

This recipe can also be used in a bread machine.  Put the yeast on the bottom of the mixing container in your bread machine.  Add dry ingredients.  Mix together the wet ingredients and pour into the machine.  Turn the machine on to the manual setting and let the dough mix.  I prefer removing the dough after the second rising (or the end of the manual setting) and not letting it bake in the machine.  Divide in half and and place on oiled baking sheet, cover and let rise, then follow the baking instructions above.

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Friday, November 20th, 2009 Dill Bread No Comments

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