Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quick Saffron Scented Focaccia with Garlic, Onion, Lemon and Rosemary





Bread is a wonderful thing. It's super simple, endlessly versatile and gives you a sense of accomplishment that no other dish can give you.  I feel that everyone should know how to make bread, and I'll take it upon myself to show you the ropes.

The focaccia I've made today is not at all 'traditional'. To achieve the correct crumb and texture of a traditional focaccia requires long fermentation or a poolish with long risings and I just don't have the patience for that today. This is a quick, simple version to start with.  The reason I chose to do a focaccia as my first bread post is because it's the only bread I can think of that can be made into any flavor you can possibly imagine without compromising the base of the dough.  You can also put any flavor combination on top and it won't turn into something different.  It's definitely a bread to make if you have never attempted bread baking before.  So, here we go!


You're going to need Flour, Salt, Yeast, Saffron and Water.


The very first step is to prepare your saffron.  Heat your water to almost boiling in a pan or the microwave and stir your saffron into it until it's dissolved.  You'll end up with some pretty amber colored water.  Let it cool down a bit while you throw together the dough.


Combine your flour, salt and yeast.  Mix it up well, then pour in your cooled saffron water.  If you are using a stand mixer, go ahead and run it with your dough hook for 5-7 minutes.  If using a bowl and kneading manually,  you'll want to stir the dough until it comes together, then turn it out onto a floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes until you get a soft, smooth dough.



 The dough on the top is what your dough should look like when it is properly kneaded.  When it's reached this point, smooth it into a round ball like you see on the bottom.


At this point you are going to put your dough in an oiled bowl, cover it and let it rise for about 1 hour or until doubled.

While it's rising, make the topping.


Olive oil, Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon, Onion


There is no right or wrong way to do this, just use as much as you like.  I zested the whole lemon, grated half of the onion, pressed two garlic cloves, one small palm full of rosemary and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  You can either mortar and pestle the ingredients and then stir them into the oil or combine everything in a food processor.  I used a food processor since I have my mortar and pestle packed away already and it did just fine.


Grab the dish you are going to bake your bread in, oil it well and put a good bit of cornmeal on the bottom.



When your bread has risen properly, take it and throw it into your prepared baking dish.  Use your hands and flatten it to fit into the pan.  This dough is very flexible and will do what you want without any real effort.  Cover and rise for about a half an hour.



After it has risen again, use your fingers and poke holes all over the surface. You can poke them pretty deep, it will rise out while baking.


 At this point you will want to add your topping.  Don't be shy, really throw it on there.  Top it off with a bit more rosemary and some sea salt.

Bake.

   
 Enjoy.



Saffron Scented Focaccia with Garlic, Onion, Lemon and Rosemary

Preheat oven to 425F/220C

Focaccia
3 1/2  to 4 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoon Yeast
1 2/3 Cup Water (13.5oz)
1/16 Teaspoon Saffron (I used the very tip of a spoon handle)

Dissolve saffron in very hot water, cool to lukewarm.  Combine flour, salt, yeast.  Add water, knead 5 minutes in a machine or 10 minutes manually.  Rise one hour.  Press into pan prepared with oil and cornmeal.  Rise 30 minutes.  Poke holes, add topping.  Bake 25-30 minutes.


Garlic, Lemon, Onion and Rosemary Topping
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Zest of 1 Lemon
2 Cloves Garlic, Pressed
1/2 Onion, Grated
1 Teaspoon Rosemary

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined.  If using a mortar and pestle, combine lemon zest, garlic, rosemary and garlic and then add mixture into oil.

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