Friday, June 14, 2013

Sciabica’s Mission Spring Harvest Focaccia

The lush, buttery flavor of Sciabica's Mission Variety Spring Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil was calling out for?  What else, but bread!  All of my fellow cooks at 37 know very well I do not bake and my oven "cabinet" is for pan storage only.  But, after having this epiphany, I started asking a lot of questions and the decision was made to bake focaccia.  It is a simple bread and a perfect choice for this first time baker.  The next challenge was to find a place to put all the pans while I embarked on this new journey.  It is a good thing we do not use the dining room table every day!  While I am no where ready to attempt brioche or baguettes, I am so pleased with the results of my first effort making focaccia.  It is possible that future challenges could very well feature another "doughy" recipe!

Sciabica’s Mission Spring Harvest Focaccia!
By Susan R

1 package active dry yeast
1 pinch of sugar
1½ cups warm water (110°), divided
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
fresh rosemary or thyme
flaked sea salt

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a small bowl with ½ cup of the warm water.  When the yeast mixture foams, the yeast is proofed.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk to flour and salt to combine.  Add 2 tablespoons of the Sciabica’s Mission Variety Spring Harvest Olive Oil and the yeast mixture.  Add the remaining warm water.  Using a hand mixer (which is all I have at the moment) fitted with the dough hooks, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic-y, about 6-8 minutes.  If the dough is very sticky, knead it by hand a few more times on a lightly floured surface.  Form the dough into a ball.  Put 1/2 tablespoon of Sciabica’s Mission Variety Spring Harvest Olive Oil in a medium bowl.  Add the dough and turn to completely coat with the oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a draft free area.  In approximately 1½ hours the dough should double in size.  Sometimes it might take just a little longer.

Prepare 2-8” cake pans by putting ½ teaspoon of Sciabica’s Mission Variety Spring Harvest Olive Oil in each one and rub the oil around to coat the pans.  Press the dough down and divide in half with a sharp knife.  Put ½ the dough in each pan and working from the center, stretch the dough to reach the sides all the way around.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise again for another 35 minutes.  While the dough is rising, chop a desired amount of fresh rosemary or thyme.  We like quite a bit of either, but we know people who do not, so the amount varies.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the plastic wrap and using your fingers, make “dimples” all over the focaccias.  Drizzle the focaccias with the remaining Sciabica’s oil.  Sprinkle the rosemary or thyme on the tops, followed by the flaked sea salt (to taste).

Bake the focaccias until they are golden brown.  Oven temperatures vary, so start checking the focaccias after about 17 minutes.  Mine were ready at 25 minutes.  Transfer the focaccias to wire racks and let them cool just long enough to handle.  Slice into wedges and serve with condiments of your choosing.  We opted for additional Sciabica’s Mission Variety Spring Harvest Olive Oil, roasted garlic and freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano topped with Aleppo pepper. 

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