Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Ok, so call me a blog hog, but the boys are being lazy and I have ambition to post. It's winter, and winter is major bread-baking season for me.

This particular baking adventure of sorts came up last weekend when I watered my little rosemary plant in the living room and the smell made me smile. Plus, since my little rosemary plant was getting sorta big, I wanted to prune it. I added the caramelized onion topping purely because we had leftover caramelized onions from another meal; you are in no way obligated to caramelize onions specifically for this bread.

Focccacia is sometimes referred to as a flatbread, but I don't see it that way. There's yeast in it, and it puffs up significantly by the time it's done. It's awesome plain, dipped in olive oil, or sliced in half to serve as sandwich bread. This recipe came originally from the Rebar Cookbook, but I've altered it to suit my purposes (namely, a bag of whole wheat flour close to expiration and a consequent effort to deplete it).

Two-Topping Whole Wheat Foccacia

  • 1 3/4 cups wrist-temperature water
  • 1 TBS yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (note: you could try using more whole wheat flour/less white, but for a light bread like foccacia I preferred to stick with mostly white)
  • olive oil to drizzle over the top
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 2-3 TBS minced fresh rosemary (you could use dried, but fresh is better)
  • salt (I used sea salt-- a coarser one like rock or kosher would probably be better)
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onion
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

  • Put the water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast and sugar in. Let it sit until fragrant and foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in the salt and olive oil.
  • Add flour one cup at a time (I alternated white and wheat). If the dough gets too stiff to mix in the bowl, don't worry about it. Just dump it onto a floured counter and start the kneading process.
  • Knead for 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Clean out the bowl of any clinging bits of flour and coat it with a thin layer of olive oil.
  • Dump the kneaded dough into the oiled bowl, roll the dough so all surface gets oiled, and let it rise, covered, for 1- 1 1/2 hours, until it's about doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down and let it rise until it doubles again (this should take less time than the first rise). This is a good time to mince your garlic and rosemary.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and oil a cookie sheet (preferably one with short sides-- but we're not talking a brownie pan here). Dump the dough onto the sheet and coax it outward to meet the edges of the sheet.
  • Toppings! Drizzle olive oil generously (or not-so-generously, depending on your preference) over the surface of the bread, and follow it with some salt and pepper. This is where the foccacia splits, if you're choosing to follow the two-flavor recipe. Sprinkle the garlic and rosemary on 2/3 of the foccacia and the onion and feta on the other 1/3. (Obviously you could do it half and half too-- I just had appropriate proportions for 2/3-1/3).
  • Use your fingertips to poke little dents all over the bread and let it rise for about 15 minutes.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the bread is puffy and the garlic is golden. topic, but in the interest of full disclosure, and because Bozzie wrote a pointed comment on my last post, I will just say that I am also writing a fantasy story of sorts and the stuffed eggplant (as well as any other middle eastern/Mediterranean recipes I might put up here) are based on my city of Gabrilim. But I also love middle eastern food for its own sake, so this isn't to say that I wouldn't be cooking middle eastern without my story. The story just gave me a little nudge in that direction. Anyway, enjoy the foccacia!

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