One of my favorite hobbies is cooking. Cooking is my destresser. After a long day at work, I look forward to coming home to my little kitchen and creating a home-cooked meal. (An added bonus is my sous chef, Kieran, who helps me with the prep and dishes. ^_^)
I decided to try out my new KitchenAid mixer by making bread from scratch. Not just any bread, but focaccia. This was a tall order since this is my second attempt --- the first one did not rise and was as hard as a rock.
The recipe was from my cooking class at San Francisco City College. But being a rebellious cook, I made a few changes to the original recipe.
1. Garlic-rosemary oil:
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 2 tsp of dried chili pepper
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- In a small sauce pan, combine the ingredients and cook under medium-low heat till the garlic is golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. (You can prepare this a day in advance.)
2. Bread dough:
- Dissolve 1 package of dry active yeast in 2 cups of warm water for approx. 10 minutes
- Add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 tsp of salt and the yeast solution into the mixer bowl
- Using the kneading hook, mix the ingredient on low setting
- Gradually add an additional 3 cups of flour to the mixture (1 cup at a time)
- Mix the dough till everything is combined (about 3-5 minutes)
- Remove the dough from the mixer and knead it for another 2 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large bowl. Smear 2 tablespoon of the garlic oil around the dough
- Place the bowl in a warm water bath (e.g., a pan with warm water). Cover the bowl with saran wrap and a warm moist towel for 1 hr. till the dough doubles in size.
- Sliced olives
- Chopped rosemary
- Coarse sea salt
4. Assembling the bread:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
- Once the dough has double in size, punch the dough with your fist.
- Generously cover the pan (9 in x 13 in) with the garlic oil
- Using your fingers, spread the dough to the shape of the pan.
- Sprinkle the chopped rosemary on of the bread dough
- Lay the sliced tomatoes and olives and gently press them into the dough
- Sprinkle some dried pepper flakes and sea salt
- Drizzle some more garlic oil on top
- Bake the bread at 450 for 30 minutes till the bread is golden brown
- Cool the bread on a cooling rack. Slice the bread and use the remaining garlic oil as a dipping sauce.
The bread came out nicely this time around! Inside was moist; golden crust was infused with the garlic-rosemary flavor; and the top had a nice texture of roasted tomatoes, olives, and crispy sea salt.
Some things I'd like to change on the next batch of focaccia are:
- Divide the dough in half; the pan that I used was a little small which gave it more bread to topping ratio
- Incorporate some roasted garlic, rosemary, and olives in the dough in addition to the toppings
- Make more garlic-rosemary oil. It's really yummy as a general dipping sauce
I hope you try making bread at home. Let me know if you're trying this recipe. I'd love to know what you think!