Hi Everyone! I am Kate from Calamity Kate’s Kitchen and I am thrilled to be here today as a guest blogger here at Musings from a Stay At Home Mom. I was so excited when Erika contacted me. Today I am sharing a delicious Homemade Focaccia Bread recipe. This recipe is the first step to making the Sweet Berry Fougasse that I will be sharing on August seventh, over at my blog – Calamity Kate’s Kitchen.
I love making bread, but sometimes it can be hard. If you are not an accomplished bread maker, it can be a little scary to dive into if you haven’t tried making bread before. This was my first time making bread with an accomplished bread maker, my Aunt Nancy. For the last two years, since Aunt Nancy moved from Baltimore to Wisconsin, she and I spend one week together just cooking and baking. We have two very special taste testers, Uncle Stewart and Aunt Fran. The first day we spend hours checking the Internet, reading cookbooks and just finding enough recipes to make during the week. Then we go grocery shopping. I love baking and cooking, but sometimes it can be a little lonely, just stuck in the kitchen by yourself. But I have the most fun possible cooking with my aunt! And of course, we get to eat all of our hard work…it is always delicious!
This year, Aunt Nancy and I decided to get a little more ambitious with our baking. As I mention, Nancy is a very accomplished bread baker. I am better with cakes, cookies and cupcakes but she is the most amazing bread, tart and pie baker I know! So, we tried the recipes for Herb Focaccia bread and Sweet Berry Fougasse from Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers by Dorie Greenspan and Julia Child
This recipe for herb focaccia bread is super simple and lots of fun. While there are lots of steps, they are relatively short. Nothing about this recipe is complicated, it just looks complicated. The dough is easy but having a stand mixer with a bread hook will save you a lot of time and pain. We topped our focaccia with fresh basil and fresh rosemary, but you could also top it with truffle oil, any type of sea salt, pink salt etc. and any herb you like. I like the rosemary but the basil was my favorite! If you don’t have a clean cooking straight razor you can use a super sharp pizza cutter or dough slicer. The texture of the bread changed over night. When eaten fresh from the oven, it is soft, warm and delicious. The herb flavor was more intense. However, when eaten the next day it is much more chewy, salty, and just so satisfying. This focaccia bread recipe is delicious and better than any you will find at a bakery. Enjoy!
Homemade Focaccia Bread
Makes 3 focaccias
The dough for focaccia bread is so active and bubbly it squeaks. Indeed, every step working with this dough is designed to keep the bubbles that will give the breads their beautiful inner open weave and speckled, oil-glistened crust.
Focaccia and pizza, cousins in the Italian flatbread family, were often the baker’s snack, the midwork nibble between ovenloads of breads. But these focaccias are so gorgeous-sunny-gold, oiled, topped with herbs or fruited, and specalactly sculptural- that you’ll want to make them the main event.
The dough is mixed quickly in a heavy-duty mixer, allowed to rise, then refrigerated for at least 24 hours, the time it needs to set that bubbly structure in place
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (about 90°F)
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons salt
Herb-infused or other olive oil
Chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary and/or thyme (2-3 tablespoons)
Coarse sea salt
Whisk 1/2-cup water and the yeast together in the bowl of a mixer. Set aside for 5 minutes until yeast dissolves and turns creamy. Pour 1 3/4 cups warm water into a large measuring cup, add olive oil, and whisk to blend; set aside. Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl and set aside. Pour water-oil mixture over the yeast and whisk to blend.
Add half the flour, and stir with a rubber spatula to mix. Attach dough hook, add remaining flour, and mix on low for 3 minutes or until dough starts to come together. Increase mixer to medium-high and continue to mix for 10 minutes, scraping down hook and sides of bowl as needed, until extremely elastic dough cleans sides of bowl.
Transfer dough to a work surface and form into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl, turn it to cover with oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Fold dough down on itself to deflate and let rise again until doubled and billowy, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Fold dough over on itself again to deflate and turn it out onto a work surface. Using a metal dough scraper or a knife, cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and place each ball in an oiled gallon-size lock-top plastic bag and refrigerate. About 1 1/2 hours before you plan to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and take out of oiled bags. Place on a lightly floured surface, dust tops of balls with flour, and cover loosely but completely with plastic. Let rest 1 hour.
Position oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and dust with cornmeal; set baking sheets aside. Fill a spray bottle with water and set aside.
Press down gently on each piece of dough, causing bubbles to appear on the sides, then slit the bubbles with a single-edge razor to release the gases. Gently pull and stretch each piece of dough into a 10-inch square.
Let the dough relax, covered, for 10 minutes. Transfer focaccias to the baking sheets. Use a single-edge razor to slash each square, cutting a tic-tac-toe pattern. Brush each focaccia bread with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh herbs and coarse sea salt, and put them into heated oven. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden with a heavy speckling of small surface bubbles, spraying the oven with water three times during the first 8 minutes of baking. As soon as you remove the focaccias from the oven, brush them with a little additional olive oil and transfer them to a rack to cool before serving.
Do Not Forget To Spray With Water While Baking!
It really makes a difference in the texture!
I have been blogging for 4 years but my current awesome blog; Calamity Kate’s Kitchen is coming up on its 3rd anniversary. I share stories, cupcakes, the adventures of being the only carnivore in a family of vegans and the recipes I have grown up on, from my grandparents to my aunts and uncles, friends and family. I am an avid amateur photographer and a cupcake fanatic. I love traditional family recipes and inventing my own recipes! I live in Indiana and I am work in our family’s furniture business. Also I am currently attending a local community college.
You can find me at Calamity Kate’s Kitchen