Focaccia Recipe

Focaccia Recipe

A post on Instagram, or Facebook, or Twitter floats somewhere in the digital content abyss. Ok, a website is still a digital space, I know, but I hope you get inspired to make this Focaccia Recipe at home. Bread is real. It’s food. It nourishes you. Bread is my escape to reality.

Focaccia Recipe

Focaccia

(Adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nostrat)

 

For the Dough:

2 ½ cups (600g) lukewarm water

½ teaspoon active dry yeast

2 1/2 teaspoons (15grams) honey

5 1/3 cups (800g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Kosher salt

¼ cup (50g) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing

Flaky salt for finishing

 

For the Brine:

1 ½ teaspoons (5g) kosher salt

1/3 cup (80g) lukewarm water

 

In a medium bowl, stir together water, yeast, and honey to dissolve.

In a very large bowl, whisk flour and salt together to combine and then add yeast mixture and olive oil.

Stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated then scrape the sides of the bowl clean and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature to ferment for 12 to 14 hours until at least doubled in volume.

Focaccia Dough Rise

 

Spread 2-3 tablespoons oil evenly onto a 18 X 13-inches rimmed baking sheet. When dough is ready, use a spatula or your hand to release it from the sides of the bowl and fold it onto itself gently, then pour out onto pan. pour an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil over dough and gently spread across. Gently stretch the dough to the edge of the sheet by placing your hands underneath and pulling outward. The dough will shrink a bit, so repeat stretching once or twice over the course of 30 minutes to ensure dough remains stretched.

Focaccia Dough Strech

 

Dimple the dough by pressing the pads of your first three fingers in at an angle. Make the brine by stirring together salt and water until salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the dough to fill dimples. Proof focaccia for 45 minutes until the dough is light and bubbly.

Thirty minutes into this final proof, adjust rack to center position and preheat the oven to 400˚F. Invert another sturdy baking sheet and place on the rack. Allow to preheat with the oven until very hot, before proceeding with baking.

Sprinkle focaccia with flaky salt. bake for 25 to 30 minutes directly on top of inverted pan until bottom crust is crisp and golden brown when checked with a metal spatula. To finish browning top crust, place focaccia on upper rack and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more.

Remove from oven and brush or douse with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil over the whole surface (don’t worry if the olive pools in pockets, it will absorb as it sits). Let cool for 5 minutes, then release focaccia from pan with metal spatula and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature. To store, wrap in parchment paper and keep in an airtight bag or container to preserve texture.

 

 

 

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Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

 

I wish Irish Soda Bread would appear more than once a year during St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration of all things Ireland. Although we are surrounded by baked goods, there is something quite special about the Irish Soda Bread Recipe. This rich and handsome bread is made with bread flour, yeast, butter, buttermilk and it’s studded with raisins.

Every culture has its own bread variation, from Babakas from Eastern Europe, Croissants and Kugelholf in France, Colomba Pasquale in Italy, Cheese Bread in Brazil and many more.

Around the early 2000’s, I was an “stagiere” at Payard Patisserie by acclaimed pastry chef Francoise Payard, when the pastry shop was in its full glory in the Upper East Side location. Each day we used to roll croissants in the morning hours and then we’d bake huge batches of dough in the afternoon. Irish Soda Bread was prepared mostly for St.Patrick’s day and Eastern Holiday.

You’d think that I’d be done baking breads by now, but it turns out, I still love to bake at home, especially interesting breads such as this one. I can’t resist a warm oven filling the house with the most wonderful bread aromas. For this Irish Soda Bread, I turned to expert John Barricelli of Sono Baking Company, a lovely bakery in Connecticut.

Bread baking requires patience for sure. Let the yeast do its work and don’t try to rush it. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to do while the dough is resting at various stages. You’ll be rewarded with a delicious and gorgeous bread to enjoy. It also makes a beautiful food gift by the way.

With my recent trip to Belém do Pará, in Brazil, I came back with lots of Cupuacú Jams in the luggage. Turns out, it goes perfectly with Irish Soda Bread. But any jam in the likes of apricots or orange will be nice here! Hope you’ll enjoy this recipe!

 

 

Recipe adapted from Sono Baking Company cookbook

Irish Soda Bread

Makes one loaf

Ingredients:

6 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting the loaves

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons instant yeast

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 cups buttermilk

1 ½ cups raisins

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and yeast. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk, and using your hands, mix until the dough just comes together, mix in the raisins. Using a plastic bowl scraper, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it’s smooth and supple, 3 to 4 minutes. Shape into a round loaf.

Irish Soda Bread in the Making

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm location (at least 70˚F) until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Irish Soda Bread rising

Irish Soda Bread proofed

Punch the dough down to deflate it, reshape it into a round loaf, and let it rest again until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. With a bench scraper, divide it into two pieces, and shape them into two round loaves.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Dust the top of each loaf with flour, and with a bench scraper, form an X through the center of the bread, pressing down deeply in both directions with the scraper, almost cutting through the loaf. Place the loaves on a lightly floured baking sheet.

Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the crust is deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Serve it with butter and jam of your preference!

 

 

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