Foodie

Monday, March 28, 2011

No Knead Rosemary Focaccia

I was at the Library and found this Sept - Oct 2008, Cook's Illustrated and it featured a "Better Foccacia".  How better is it?  i would have to bake one to find out.  The best part in the process of making this Foccacia is - no need to knead.  It has been quite awhile since Alexander made The No-knead Bread, and i ask if he would like to help make bread again.  He was only 3 when he helped with The No Knead Bread and now that he is coming to be 6, has other more interesting activities than helping me in the kitchen.  He does not need to help ,  i would be the happiest, if he will eat my cooking or baking.  When i bake bread, Renee is my biggest fan, she can smell bread baking in the oven a mile away and would always ask when can she have a piece.  She likes everything that is doughy, she is a carb person. 

To achieve a focaccia that has a crunchy, oily, almost orange colored crust with a chewy, airy and flavorful open crumb, these few tips have to be followed - 1. HOLD THE SALT - TEMPORARILY - The result for briefly omitting the salt hastened gluten development by an hour.  After 15 minutes, the unsalted dough was already pliant and smooth.  THE EXPLANATION - Salt inhibits both the ability of flour to absorb water and the activity of the enzymes that break down proteins to begin the process of forming gluten.  If allowed to rest without salt, the flour is able to get a jump on gluten development by absorbing as much water as it can and letting its enzymes work sooner to develop gluten networks.  2.  Bake bread on a BAKING STONE  - baking stones simulate a brick oven in your home oven, absorbing and radiating intense, consistent heat to produce crisp, golden brown crusts on pizza, calzones, and bread.  If you don't have a baking stone, bake the bread on an overturned, preheated rimmed baking sheet set on the upper middle oven rack. 3. FOR BIG FLAVOR - A long rest is best - Creating a small batch of starter dough(also known as a preferment, or a biga in Italian) boosts the flavor in our bread dramatically.A starter is made by combining small amounts of flour and water with a little yeast and allowing it to ferment overnight.  With a lengthy rest, long carbohydrate chains that have little taste break down into a multitude of sugars and alcohol with lots of flavor.




Biga:

1/2 cup(2 1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup(2 2/3 oz) warm water (100 - 110f)
1/4 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast

Dough

2 1/2 cups(12 1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cusp(10 oz) warm water (100 - 110f)
1 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
3 tsp kosher salt ( 1 tsp table salt)(2 for mixing and 1 for coating the pan)
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsps chopped fresh rosemary leaves







FOR THE BIGA:

Combine flour, water, and yeast in large bowl and stir with wooden spoon until uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains. 

Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature (about 70 f) overnight(at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours).

Use immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. (allow to stand at room temperature 30 minutes before proceeding with recipe)

FOR THE DOUGH:

Stir flour, water and yeast into biga with wooden spoon until uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle, 2 tsp kosher salt over dough, stir into dough until thoroughly incorporated.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in room temperature for 30 minutes.

Spray rubber spatula or bowl scraper with nonstick cooking spray, fold partially risen dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle.  Turn bowl 90 degrees, fold again.  Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 turns).  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.  Repeat folding, turning, and rising 2 more times, for total of three 30 minutes rises.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking.

Gently transfer dough to lightly floured counter.  Lightly dust top of dough with flour and divide in half.  Shape each piece of dough into 5 inch round by gently tucking under edges.  Coat two 9 inch round cake pans with 2 tbsp olive oil each.  Sprinkle each pan with 1/2 tsp kosher salt.  Place round of dough on pan, top sides down, slide dough around pan to coat bottom and sides, then flip over.  Repeat with second piece of dough.  Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.

Using fingertips, press dough out toward edges of pan.(If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 - 10 minutes before trying again)  Using dinner fork, poke surface of dough 25 - 30 times, popping an large bubbles.  Sprinkle rosemary evenly over top of dough .  Let dough rest until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.

Place pans on baking stone and reduced oven temperature to 450 f.  Bake until tops are golden brown, 15 - 28 minute, switching placement of pans halfway through baking.  Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes.  Remove loaves from pan and return to wire rack.  Brush tops with any oil remaining in pan.

Let cool 30 minutes before serving.
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