This month’s book: Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
There are so many things that I put off doing or trying. I’m always saying I’ll get around to finishing that oil painting in the back of my closet. Or I’ll read that book I’ve checked out hundreds of times but never got through. Or I will use the pile of cookbooks I have.
I’ve got to admit, I do a lot of my recipe selections on the Internet rather than through cookbooks. First of all, most cookbooks are expensive and I have limited shelf space. Secondly, you have to go to a bunch of different ones to find a recipe that inspires you.
True, on occasion, I will find a cookbook that I want to cook my way through. But more often than not, I end up using the same 5-6 recipes and not trying the others.
Basic Baking was one of the first cookbooks I bought for myself. I was down in Bethany Beach, DE with a friend’s family. We ducked into a small bookstore to escape the heat and I found this in the discount section. It seemed like it had recipes that were up to my speed (which was that I could make cornbread and boil pasta).
Thanks to this month’s book, I have been overwhelmed with a craving for Ligurian food. So when I needed a focaccia recipe that was up to my yeast-killing speed, I turned to an old friend. I was really surprised that it came together in the food processor so easily!
I used some tricks, like additional olive oil in the baking sheet, to help ensure that authentic crispy bottom. I’ve also devised a method of rising dough which seems to work for me. I place the dough, covered, into the oven with a casserole dish full of boiling water. Things get a little tricky when I want to preheat the oven, but overall the effects have been good. What is your trick for yeasted doughs?
Easy Rosemary Focaccia
Adapted from Basic Baking
3 1/3 c flour
1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
2 tsp active yeast
1/3 c olive oil, plus 1/3 c for greasing the pan
1 c warm water
4-5 rosemary, chopped
Place flour, salt, and yeast in food processor and pulse briefly. Add olive oil, water, and rosemary. Pulse 10-20 times until dough comes together. Run food processor for 45 seconds to knead dough.
Transfer bowl to an oiled bowl. Cover and let dough rise 1-1 1/2 hours.
Pour remaining olive oil in baking sheet. It should form a thick coating. Place dough in baking sheet and spread flat. Set aside again an allow to rise for another 20-30 min.
In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F. Once the dough has risen slightly, sprinkle with a flaky salt and bake 20 min. Focaccia will have a golden crunchy bottom and some color on the top. Cut and enjoy!
To reheat, place individual slices in the toaster over low heat.