Monday, August 27, 2012

rosemary focaccia + little caprese sandwiches


sunday night is now officially my frIIIday night!
the sunday night blues have now been converted to the tuesday night blues.


thus, monday mornings are couch relax time.
two and a half cups of coffee time.
scratch my back and zone out time.


bread baking is a part of my daily life now.
i spend a lot of quality time with sourdough and naan, soft pretzels and steamed buns, bagels and sticky buns.
the quality time is often hot, messy, and stressful.


but even when i am stress running around like a maniac and have dough in my eyebrow, i can still stop for 10 seconds to crack my back and admire the coolness of what i'm doing, what i'm making.


i made some rosemary focaccia not at work couple weeks ago. it was perfect, everything an olive oil crusted bread should be. thin crust, crisp and salted. soft and chewy innards. the top, sprinkled with flakey sea salt and raw sugar.


(don't raise your eyebrows at me sir)
(the small bit of sugar does great things to bring out all the awesome bready flavors)
(it's not gonna taste like sweet dessert bread, SIR.)
(you're weird, sir.)


and THEN.
three days ago, focaccia was added to our grand list of breads to churn out.
coincidence? yes.
more work --> another thing to stress about? yes.
delicious? yeeesh.


it was served as the base of a sandwich, open faced, layered elegantly with fresh hummus, heirloom tomato + cucumber salad, slices of grilled chicken, and olive pesto.


i just stuffed some caprese salad inside the the bread leftovers and called it an afternoon.


mozz bomb. juicy tomatoes. spinach pesto. i can be content any day with just these things.

but i do appear to have been majorly one-upped by my own job.


Rosemary Focaccia
barely adapted from pastry affair

4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour
2 3/4 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar

in a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, water, and yeast. cover the bowl with plastic and allow to rise in a warm dry place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough has tripled in volume and is bubbly. 
in a stand mixer, attach dough hook and mix in salt and rosemary. knead dough for an additional 5-7 minutes. dough will be loose and sticky. 
( if not using a stand mixer, turn dough onto a floured surface and knead dough, mix in salt and rosemary at this time. add more flour as needed. dough will be difficult to handle, but try to incorporate as little flour as you can, as it will result in a softer bread)
cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour, or until doubled in volume. 
in a 13x17 inch rimmed baking pan, evenly distribute 2 tbsp of olive oil to coat the pan. turn out dough onto pan and with oiled hands, pull dough to the edges of pan. the dough may resist, but with some patience it will stay put. cover dough with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for an additional 20 minutes. 
preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
using your fingertips, dimple the top of the dough. drizzle remaining olive oil evenly over bread and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, black pepper, raw sugar, and rosemary. bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. let cool slightly in pan before serving warm. 

on the next day, toast the leftovers and make sandwiches. 

10 comments:

  1. Well I'm glad you're not getting tired of bread after having to deal with it so much at work! This focaccia looks majorly dreamy especially with that mozz stuffed into it.

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  2. You successfully made me hungry AGAIN after I just ate breakfast. I guess focaccia will do that to you.

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  3. Julia can I use turbinado sugar or is that the same as raw sugar??

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  4. We are having a big dinner party nov 10th can you make your way to new york???
    This looks like a great appetizer!!!

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  5. The sugar question was mine as well. And bread flour is different than regular flour??

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  6. yes turbinado is raw sugar! and bread flour is different from all purpose, it should be right next to it on the shelf at the market!

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  7. Julia - how many days in advance of a party can I make the bread and how many hours in advance can I make the mini sandwiches without them getting too soggy? Thanks

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  8. i would definitely bake the bread on the same day that you are eating it. you can spread out the process by making the dough and then sticking it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, which will majorly slow down the proofing process..when you'd like to continue just take it out and bring it to room temperature and continue with the steps

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  9. How about making the mini sandwiches - how muct time in advance an I do that and can I use a basil sprig in place of pesto? Having your Brussels sprouts tonight!

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  10. of course to the basil! and i'd assemble them right before you'd like to eat them so that they don't get soggy, but having everything sliced ready to go will make the assembly super quick!

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