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Foccacia – Italian Bread August 31, 2008
I was thinking of baking some bread for quite some time and was intimidated by the lengthy process. First we need to make the dough, then rest it or ferment it until it increases in size and then baking it. It is a long process and I lack the patience required for such a lengthy process. Last week, I finally decided to give it a try and chose Amu’s Foccacia bread. Amu is a fellow blogger and a young pastry chef by profession. She called for all purpose flour in her recipe and I wanted to use whole wheat flour, so that I can send it to BBD#13. I checked with Amu if I can use whole wheat (whole meal) flour and she said I could. So I bought a small bag of whole wheat flour and then I got cold feet. We usually don’t eat bread at home and on top of it, I was baking whole flour bread. I wasn’t sure if I would like it. So I drop the idea.
This morning, when I saw the announcement for next month’s JFI – Whole Grains, I got excited and started my preparation to bake my Foccacia. Only after I finished baking did I realize that the theme of JFI for next month is whole grains and not whole flour. I don’t know if this entry would qualify for that event but, I am glad I tried the recipe. When I first tasted it, I thought, I probably would have liked refined foccacia better than this. Later, the more I ate the bread, it tasted better. I loved the topping on the bread and in fact, I don’t think I would have liked the foccacia without the topping. I liked the crust better than the inner bread. Next time I bake it again, I will make the loaf thinner and wider, use more topping, so that I have more crust and lots of topping 😉 .
Preparation: 30 minutes
Resting Period: 50 minutes
Baking: 20 – 25 minutes
- 1 packet or ¼ oz or 7 gm Active Dry Yeast
- 1 cup or 250 ml Lukewarm Water
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 350 gm Whole Wheat Flour or All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 20 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Olive Oil
- Dried Oregano or Herbs of your choice
- 4 dried tomato halves cut into small pieces
- 2 jarred Jalopeno Peppers cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp grated Cheese (I used mexican blend that I had at home)
- In luke warm water, add sugar and dry yeast. Cover it and leave for the yeast to activate.
- Sift flour, add salt oregano and oil to flour and mix well. Once yeast becomes foamy, add it to flour mixture and make a dough.
- Knead it with both your palms. I used only one hand and 5 minutes into kneading, my hand started hurting. I kneaded it for another 2-3 minutes and put it in a oiled bowl. Let it rest for 30-40 minutes. In 30 minutes, it should double its original size. I rested it for 40 minutes.
- Flour the counter top and knead the dough again, to remove all the air and bubbles from it. This should take about 3- 4 minutes.
- Grease a baking pan with oil. Make a loaf of the dough with your hand.
- Let it sit until it increases in size. I let it sit for 10 minutes. Pre heat the oven to 356 F (180 C)and prepare the ingredients for topping. This takes about 5 minutes. So the loaf was resting for 15 minutes (10 + 5 minutes when I was preparing the topping).
- Brush the top of loaf with oil, top it with the topping and bake it for 20 -25 minutes.
- Bread should be golden brown in color and hard on the top. When tapped at the bottom of the bread, it should sound hallow. Oven temperatures vary, so check the bread is baked before removing it from the oven.
- I used sun dried tomatoes and jalapeno peppers for the topping. Amu used olives and dried tomatoes. Topping can be used according to ones taste or could skip the toppings all together.
- Next time I bake it, I would like to top it with onions, tomato and jalapeno peppers.
Guess what, I checked with Suganya and this recipe would be accepted for JFI: Whole Grains event, since I am using whole wheat flour. Jhiva for Ingredient, JFI is a brain child of Indira of Mahanandi and Taste Palettes is guest hosting it this month.