Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Rising for 2014 - Tomato Focaccia Bread

This new year is especially exciting for me, since I'm moving into a beautiful new space, and can FINALLY get back into my cooking groove. 2014 really does feel like a whole new adventure.

To get started on pushing my cooking boundaries for 2014, I've taken on baking my own bread. Although I've long ago mastered fruity banana and zucchini loafs, something about baking with yeast freaked me out ... and by something, I mean the whole rising thing.

Sure enough, it turns out that bread baking can be pretty easy, and rising yeast smells AMAZING to a carb lover like me.


Note: This recipe can be made vegan friendly if you skip the Parmesan.

Ingredients:
Bread:
  • 1 1/2 Cup warm water
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil + extra for brushing the pan and loaf
  • 1 pkg (8g or 1/4 oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground oregano (or 1/2 tsp dried oregano)
Topping:
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
Instructions:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, oil, and sugar. Let stand for at least 5 minutes, or until a 1/2 thick foam has developed at the top of the mixture.
  2. While the yeast mixture is getting foamy, in a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients for the bread (flours and herbs).
  3. Once the yeast foam has developed, give the mixture a light stir, and slowly incorporate in the dry ingredients until well combined (about 4 minutes of stirring thoroughly).
  4. Time to rise! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then place a towel or blanket over top, since yeast loves heat. Let stand for 1 hour.
  5. After the hour, the dough will have doubled in size. Brush a standard baking sheet (11"x17") with canola oil, and place the focaccia dough onto the sheet by gently pulling the dough from the sides of the bowl with your hand, and then turning the bowl upside-down over the pan.
  6. With flat hands, gently stretch the dough the the corners of the baking sheet. Once stretched, lightly brush with oil, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise again for another 30 minutes.
  7. While the dough is rising, preheat over to 450F, and thinly slice the tomatoes and set aside.
  8. Once the dough is done rising in to pan, use your thumb pr two fingers to make indents in the dough that are about one inch apart:
      9. Place the tomato slices on top, and sprinkle with the garlic powder, rosemary, and Parmesan.
    10. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes.

Enjoy!

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