I was a good baker and read the recipe instructions for Focaccia from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice ahead of time. I knew the dough required an overnight rest in the refrigerator. I planned on making the dough Saturday night after my day of diving and baking it Sunday. Little did I know how exhausted I would be after the dive. Wow. It was a great day and a horrible day all rolled into one, but the great outweighs the horrible.
I ended up getting seasick on the way out to Catalina from Long Beach. It was bad. Everyone told me I would feel better once I was in the water and it was true! The nausea went away once I was underwater. The first dive was amazing. The kelp forests were cool, it was a magical and peaceful place. Unfortunately once I surfaced, I felt sick again. It took all my strength and willpower to gear up for the second dive. I had to keep telling myself, “if you can do this, you can do anything…”.
The second dive was even better than the first, but by the end of it I was so weak and tired it wasn’t safe for me to attempt the third dive of the day. I was disappointed with myself. I really wanted to be PADI Open Water certified by the end of day. The good news is that I get to go diving again. 🙂 On Saturday we’re doing a beach dive and I can’t wait. I really like diving and I’m considering going for my Advanced Open Water certification (which amazes all my friends because all I did was complain about how I don’t like dealing with the equipment and prep).
Back to the Focaccia. Because of my long day, I was almost too tired to brush my teeth let alone make bread. I wanted to complete the Focaccia on Sunday, so I omitted the overnight rest in the refrigerator. I did chill it for a bit, but I don’t think anyone considers two hours to be overnight. 😛 The overnight rest is to enhance flavor, but when you are drenching something in olive oil how much more flavor enhancement do you need??
I incorporated golden raisins into the the dough as suggested in a side bar and topped the Focaccia with caramelized shallots and rosemary. I was inspired by my recent meal at Bouchon where I had the most delicious Gnocchi à la Parisienne made with caramelized shallots and golden raisins. I just borrowed the Bouchon cookbook from the library and it turns out that Parisienne gnocchi is different from traditional gnocchi in that it is made from pâte à choux, the dough usually used for profiteroles or éclairs. No wonder they were so good. I’m going to attempt the gnocchi in the near future…
Gnocchi à la Parisienne
The Caramelized Shallot and Golden Raisin Focaccia was awesome. The taste was great. I really love the taste combination of sweet and savory. I made the focaccia as part of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. We’re a group of bakers baking our way in order through the book. This is also my Vegan Tuesday recipe. I had some for lunch yesterday. YUM.
I made another winning recipe from the Art & Soul Baking–really, you need to get this book–this weekend: Raisin, Rosemary, & Cinnamon Focaccia. I also saw Slumdog Millionaire. If you haven’t seen it yet, Go! It’s a story about destiny, about love, about friendship.
Focaccia is typically made from pizza dough and instead of rolling it out into discs, it is pressed into a jelly roll pan. Dimpled and brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and maybe some fresh herbs plain homemade focaccia is amazing.
The flavor combination of this focaccia at first may seem a bit odd to you, but give it a chance. It works, it really does. It reminds me a of a cinnamon-raisin bagel, but revved up with the kick of rosemary. The flavor first hit me as I mixed the dough and then again has I pressed it into a pan. However, when it was baking in the oven and the scent wafted through my house I knew I was making something great.
This is a breakfast focaccia. It uses milk instead of the typical water to make the dough. This gives the bread a more tender crumb and also makes it a bit sweeter. Instead of sprinkling the focaccia with salt prior to baking, it is sprinkled with turbinado sugar.
Raisin, Rosemary, & Cinnamon Focaccia
Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking.
- 2 1/4 cups (18 ounces) warm whole milk (110 F to 115 F)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 5 cups (25 ounces) bread flour
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 cups (10 ounces) plump, sweet raisins ( I used a combo of golden and regular)
- 1/4 cup very finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine warmed milk, sugar, and yeast. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the flour and let sit for 10 minutes or so until yeast is activated and foamy. Whisk in another 2 cups of flour and use paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 4 minutes.
- Add raisins, olive oil, rosemary, cinnamon, and salt, switch to dough hook and knead until well blended. Add remaining flour and knead for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides and turn dough over in bowl to make sure everything is well mixed. Knead for another 2 minutes.
- Lightly oil a tub or bowl and place dough, lightly coating it in oil, into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in size.
- Prepare a 12″ by 17″ jelly roll pan by lightly brushing it with olive oil. Scrape risen dough onto prepared pan and lightly punch down to release some of the air. Gently begin stretching and pressing dough to fit the length and width of the pan. If at anytime it seems like the dough is resisting, brush it with olive oil and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Brush the dough with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until it is almost double in size approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 375 F.
- Remove plastic wrap and dimple dough by gently pressing your finger tips into the dough.
- Sprinkle dough with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until bread is a deep golden brown and registers 200 F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a cooling rack and immediately brush with olive oil. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 20 3″ by 3″ squares.
This focaccia is great plain, but even better smeared with mascarpone. YUM! This recipe as also inpired me to try new flavor combinations. I’m thinking dried cranberries and thyme. I’ll let you know how it turns out…