My son is not a real fan of bread, although he will eat it when he has no choice. That is quite unlike my princess. She loves her bread, any which way and any kind. That is also quite unlike me and The Lovely Wife. We all love our bread and I'm wondering whose "I dont really like bread" gene my son picked up.
Having said that however, my son really likes the bread at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK). There is no need to use any coercion or a stern glare - he will actually ASK for the bread at CPK.
The Lovely Wife and I decided one evening that we were going to try the recipe from the California Pizza Kitchen recipe book that she has. The Lovely Wife has a fear of yeast and I don't blame here because I too used to have a fear of yeast. However, after making bread and breaded goods with the Daring Bakers, I am no longer afraid of yeast!
Like most bread recipes, this one is fairly long winded but I've edited it to make it simpler and left out the options of using a food processor - so that makes it a little shorter.
2 tsps dry instant yeats
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/4 cups bread flour or plain flour
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water
2 Tbsp + 2tsp olive oil
for the topping
1 small onion
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes till it foams up a little. Combine the other ingredients (except the extra 2 tsp olive oil) in the mixing bowl of your electric mixer. Add in the yeast. Using the dough hook on the lower speed, mix the dough until smooth and elastic - about 2 to 3 minutes. Don't overmix or the dough will be tough and rubbery.
If using your hands, mix all ingredients together and then knead till the dough is only slightly tacky , barely beyong sticking to your hands.
Shape the dough into a ball and then lightly oil the dough ball with the remaining 2 tsps oil. Place the dough into a bowl and seal the top with plastic wrap. Set aside to proof until it rises to double its bulk - about 2 hours.
Punch down the dough and then reform it into a nice round ball. Return to the same bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put into the refridgerator to rise overnight for a retarded proof.
About 2 hours before you plan to bake the foccacia, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Divide the dough into 4 portions.
On a non floured surface, roll each portion of dough out back and forth to make a 9 inch long rope. Sprinkle a little flour over a clean smooth surface and roll out each rope to an oblong shape, about 2 inches wide.
Place the rolled out dough on a foil lined baking sheet - at least an inch apart. Lightly spray the tops of the dough with cold water and then distribute the onion and rosemary over the top, gently pressing into the dough. Sprinkle with salt and then drizzle a little olive oil on top.
Let rise for another 30 minutes for the final proof.
Bake the foccacias for about 10 minutes in a preheated 230C oven until golden brown.
This Focaccia is really soft with a lovely, delicate crumb. It goes well on its own and is great with a salsa or just chopped tomatoes. Although it takes quite a long time to make, the work is worth it as the bread is really delicious.
This has become a favourite in our household and it's just a pity that it takes so long to make as if it were quicker, we would be baking this far more often!