July 09, 2013
I’m all about easy bread making. Let’s be honest, some times making homemade bread can be a serious pain in the butt. More often than not I find myself just picking up a loaf at the bakery. They make a lot of good bread at those bakeries =). There is something to be said for making your own though. There’s like that hidden sense of accomplishment that you feel when you’ve finished baking a loaf of bread and it comes out perfectly. Then there’s that sense of disappointment when you’ve finished baking a loaf of bread and it comes out dreadful. I’ve been pretty successful here with bread lately (the same can not be said for my cake baking). Focaccia is one of my favorite types and the reason is because it is just so freaking easy to make. If you’ve never baked bread before and you are looking for a simple recipe, please try focaccia. You will get so much satisfaction out of it when you are done. What is so fun about making focaccia is how creative you can get with it. This recipe is kind of a blank slate (minus the fresh herbs). You can put just about whatever you want on top: tomatoes, olives, cheese, garlic, onions…the sky is really the limit. It’s perfect with soup (we paired it with our gazpacho from the other day) and it really is the perfect savory bread.
I went with fresh herbs for my topping for a couple of different reasons. Number one – I have a ton of herbs growing absolutely out of control on my patio. I really can not keep up with them. As a result, this loaf may have been a little bit over the top with herbs. I’m thinking some kind of crazy pesto is in order next because I just don’t know what else to do! I guess I should be grateful that they are growing like crazy in this God awful heat, but still, there is only so much two people can eat in the herb department! Anyway…Number two – I really wanted to pair this with a great beer and as soon as I hear the words “fresh herbs,” once specific beer comes to mind:
Are you ready for it?
Are you sure?
I know what you are thinking…why do I constantly pair with beers that are so seriously limited? Because they are the best beers around…duh! When you buy a brew that’s of “limited” availability, that just makes it so much more special. The brewers obviously put a lot of thought into it, and if they’ve “collabed” (collaboration verbage if you were wondering) with other breweries to make it…well that makes it even MORE special! Saison du BUFF is just one of those special ones. It was released some time ago, but you never know, a bottle shop could have one lingering (you can also find it in Victory and Stone bottles — the collaborators). Who knows, maybe they will release it again sometime soon! If you absolutely can not find it, find something similar that has been brewed with fresh herbs. You will not regret this decision. I promise.
Have a great day everyone! Oh and bake some bread! (as long as it’s not too hot)
Fresh Herb Focaccia
Focaccia is one of the easiest breads you will ever make. The sky is the limit in toppings and it’s perfect with a bowl of soup or all by itself!
2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons honey
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil, extra virgin
1 tablespoon corn meal
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
5 thai basil leaves, chopped
all-purpose flour, for dusting
olive oil, for brushing
- In the bowl of your stand mixer (with dough hook attached), combine the yeast, water and honey. Let sit for 5-6 minutes or until it begins to foam slightly. Once the mixture begins to foam, turn your mixer on the lowest setting. Add the flour in gradually until you have added the entire amount. Once all of the flour has been added and seems to be incorporating, add the kosher salt and olive oil. Turn the speed up to the medium setting and let knead for about 10-15 minutes. At this point the dough should be of a smooth and elastic consistency. Add more flour or a tablespoon or two of water if you have yet to reach this consistency.
- Dump the dough over onto a lightly flour-dusted surface and knead for a minute or two with your hands. Form into a ball and place in a generously oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place to rise for about and hour (or until the dough has doubled in size).
- Once the dough has risen. Transfer your dough to a work surface and roll out to 1/2 an inch thick in an oblong/rectangular shape (you will want it to fit on a large baking sheet). Prep your baking sheet by brushing with olive oil and sprinkling with corn meal. Place your dough on top and stretch to fill the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and situate a rack on the second to bottom notch in your oven. Poke your dough with your fingers and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with the sea salt and top with the rosemary, thyme and thai basil. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until it begins to slightly brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Best served within 1 or 2 days of making it.
- Hardware: * Stand Mixer (with dough attachment fixed) * Measuring Cups * Measuring Spoons * Sharp Knife * Cutting Board * Rolling Pin * Plastic Wrap * Bowls * Baking Sheet *