Whoever told you baking bread at home was easy kind of lied to you! There, we said it. Bread baking is not a simple task. If it were easy, every single home baker across the world would be baking their own wonderful, crispy crusted bread with soft and moist centers every single day.
After all, we live in the age of convenience. Buying a loaf of a freshly baked baguette, ciabatta, whole grain or a chocolate croissant at the grocery store or bakery is accessible to so many of us. But when you have a little extra time, there is no greater satisfaction than working with your own dough and enjoying the rewards of the hard work you reaped on your kitchen counter.
Breaking Bread Society was created to inspire you to bake more bread in your kitchen. We want you to bake along with us every month and break bread with your family and friends. We want to spark a bread baking passion across the nation and the world around. We know it’s not an easy task and we are here to help you along the way.
Each of our founders has a different background, complementing each other in various ways:
When I made this focaccia below, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. It was one of the last ones I made. The dough seemed a little more wet than the other batches were. I could barely dimple the dough and I have to say, it was the best out of all them. The crust was crispy and the crumb was soft perfection. Sometimes when you expect a baking failure you may get pleasantly surprised. Never give up on your dough.;)
*If you really want to make this and don’t have the time to wait for the dough to rise, you could make the dough and leave it in the refrigerator over night (or place in the refrigerator in the morning and take out to bake at the end of the day). When you are ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and press into your oiled or parchment lined pan and let it rise before baking it.
Caramelized Onion and Cherry Tomato Focaccia
adapted from: How to Bake by Nick Malgieri
Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved
1 1/3 cups warm tap water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons sea salt
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced diagonally
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1-3 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
for caramelizing onion:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large onion
one 101/2 x 151/2-inch jelly roll an or a 14-inch round pan (for my round one, I used a 9-inch cake pan and it was very fluffy. The kids loved it!)
In a small bowl, add the water and sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil and whisk together. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, add the flour and 3 teaspoons of salt; whisk together or mix together on low speed in your mixer.
Add the yeast mixture and about half of the flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until it is combined. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and add the remaining flour. Mix on low speed for about three minutes. If the dough seems to be too dry, add warm water a teaspoon at a time until you obtain a softer dough.
This is how my dough looked. It is a dough that is elastic and a little moist.
Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl (when I put the dough in the bowl I swish the dough around the bottom of the bowl and then flip it over so all of the dough is covered in a light film of oil). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1-1 1/2 hours).
While the dough is rising, caramelize the onion if using it for topping.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive- oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions to the skillet and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over it. Stir occasionally and cook until tender (takes about 10-15 minutes
This was my dough after 1 hour.
Place the dough on a parchment lined pan. Pat and press the dough gently until the dough fills the pan completely. If the dough resists, let it rest for a few minutes before continuing (sometimes the dough can be moody). Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and let it rise again until doubled in size (about 40-60 minutes).
Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 F.
When the dough has doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap. Dimple the surface of the risen focaccia using your fingertips.
Brush on the remaining olive oil to the surface of the dough. Sprinkle on the sea salt (add the amount of salt you prefer. We like it a little saltier. You could even add on crushed black pepper if you’d like) and press the cherry tomatoes gently into the dough. Sprinkle on the chopped rosemary.
Bake the focaccia for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Lift the focaccia from the pan with the parchment paper edges onto a cutting board. You’re supposed to let it cool a little on a rack before serving. That never happens over here. Cut and serve.
Happy Focaccia Baking! Buon appetito!