I have been looking at the King Arthur Flour Bakealong challenges for a few months now and decided it was time to jump in and give one a try. I made the Golden Focaccia recipe for the August 2017 challenge. The recipe was easy to follow and we liked the result very much, we demolished it. We did decide we would try the thicker version next time. It is mentioned in the recipe as being more popular in the US and we agree we prefer the thicker, fluffy focaccia. Ours also came out a little dry so we will not leave it in the oven as long, we were more toward the maximum time in the recipe vs. the minimum. Overall, this was delicious and easy and definitely worth repeating.
There are many ways to use focaccia in your meal in addition to just eating it plain. Disney uses focaccia at a number of locations. One that looks delicious is Caprese Sandwich at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at Disneyland. The sandwich is described as mozzarella, basil, lettuce, citrus aioli, basil vinaigrette and balsamic glaze. I definitely need to pull together a recipe for that! Another option is the focaccia served with olive oil at Tony’s Town Square at the Magic Kingdom.
King Arthur Flour #BakeAlong Challenge Golden Focaccia
½ cup cool water
1/16 tsp instant yeast or active dry yeast
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
all of the starter (above)
2¼ tsp instant yeast or active dry yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh or dried rosemary
coarsely ground black pepper
coarse sea salt or kosher salt
In a medium sized bowl, mix the water and 1/16 teaspoon yeast, then add the flour, stirring until the flour is incorporated. The starter will be paste-like; it won't form a ball.
Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; the starter will be bubbly. If you make this in the late afternoon, it'll be ready to go by the next morning.It will grow quite a bit so make sure there is room in your bowl.
Combine the overnight starter with the remaining dough ingredients, and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth, elastic dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 5 minutes at second speed.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it's noticeably puffy.
Use non-stick vegetable oil spray to lightly grease a large baking sheet (e.g., an 18" x 13" half-sheet pan). Drizzle about 2 tablespoons olive oil atop the spray; the spray keeps the bread from sticking, while the olive oil gives the bottom crust great crunch and flavor.
Gently pull and shape the dough into a rough rectangle, and pat it into the pan. For thinner focaccia (1/2" to ¾" thick), pat it all the way to the edges of the pan. For thicker focaccia (3/4" to 1" thick), don't pat all the way to the edges of the pan; leave an inch or so free around the perimeter.
Cover the pan, and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes. Use your fingers to make irregularly spaced dimples, pressing down firmly; your fingers should reach the bottom of the pan without actually breaking through the dough.
Re-cover the dough, and let it rise until it's noticeably puffy, about 1 hour. The dough should have expanded, but shouldn't seem fragile, or look like it might collapse. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F. If you have a pizza stone or baking stone, set it on a middle or lower-middle rack.
Spritz the focaccia heavily with warm water, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil (or enough to collect a bit in the dimples). Sprinkle with rosemary (or the herb of your choice), black pepper, and coarse salt, to taste.
Place the pan of focaccia onto the baking stone, or onto a middle oven rack. Bake the focaccia until it's light golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. (If you've made small rounds, bake for 15 to 18 minutes.) Remove the focaccia from the oven, and immediately turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.
Enjoy focaccia hot from the oven, or warm; focaccia is best the same day it's made. But leftovers can be successfully reheated, either as slices in the toaster or in a 350°F oven, just until warmed through.
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