Memorable focaccia is to had at Liguria street bakery in San Francisco. My brother-in-law treats us to foot long slabs, with a host of addictive toppings. I am hooked. Needless to say, every trip to the city on the bay is a gluten filled experience.
I start with a simple flour, water, yeast dough. The KitchenAid does the heavy duty work, but I make sure I knead the dough till smooth. The dough rises in a cold oven, with a trick I read somewhere. Beneath the proofing bowl sits a deep dish of steaming water. Heat rises and the dough magically proofs. This trick works especially well in winter.
GARLIC ONION FOCACCIA
Makes 1 12x6 rectangle
1 1/2 teaspoons instant Yeast granules
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 cup warm Water
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
3 Garlic cloves
Place water, yeast, sugar and flour in the bowl of a mixer. Whisk till frothy. Keep for 10 minutes till yeast blooms. You should see a few bubbles.
Use a dough hook. Start the mixer and add salt and flour in 1/2 cup increments.
Let mixer run till dough comes together in a ball. Work the dough in the mixer for a few minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands till smooth.
Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a big glass bowl.
Drop dough into bowl and move it till it's covered with olive oil.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Heat water till boiling.
Place dough on the top rack of a cold oven.
Place a bowl of boiling water under dough.
Dough should take 1 1/2 to 2 hours to rise. It should look and feel soft and spongy.
Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Scrape dough onto sheet pan and spread with your fingers till dough is 1/2 inch thick.
Once again let dough sit in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Thinly slice garlic and onion.
Heat teaspoon of olive oil in a pan.
Saute garlic and onion till golden.
Heat oven to 425F.
Use your finger tips to make small dents all over the dough.
Scatter garlic and onion over dough.
Bake for 15 minutes till edges are slightly brown.
Take focaccia out of the oven.
Place on a wooden board and cut into strips. I used a pizza cutter in place of a knife.
The edges are crusty. The inside bits are soft and chewy.
My first attempt turns out a tasty but a trifle crusty focaccia. My mistake would be in spreading the dough too thinly towards the edges of the sheetpan. That's mistake number one. The second is the slightly burnt topping of onion and garlic. My remedy for the second mistake would be to incorporate the browned garlic and onion into the dough rather than over it. We eat and learn. The family do not find any deficiencies in the bread. They relish pieces along with their pasta. Thank heaven for husbands who love crisply browned onions and garlic.