Focaccia Fun

I have just completed week 8 of my bread class.  I remember when signing up for this class how unexcited I was about taking it.  I thought it would be hard to grasp and a lot of work, a lot of time waiting around and watching dough.  To some extent, it is a bit boring.  You can only watch dough grow for a small percentage of time before you feel like taking a nap.  But I have to admit now, 8 weeks in with only 2 more to go, that I am actually having fun in this class.  I am starting to understand what the deal is with making bread and I just get it.  It really is not hard to make bread.  So, seriously, if you are contemplating getting a bread maker, DON’T.  Save your money to buy some good flour and fresh yeast and make it at home with your own two hands.  So worth it and so gratifying.

I was unusually excited for this week’s class.  My table mates were laughing at my clapping dance that I would bust out randomly  while I worked my way through my 5 hours.  The fun started the other day when I was shopping for my ingredients to use in class.  This week we made Focaccia and Italian bread.  Essentially the same dough, with only a difference of one ingredient.

Our Table of ingredients.

Again, per the norm, we started with a yeast slurry, added the flour and the rest of the ingredients, mixed until the dough was in clean up stage and we could form a window with some dough.  Then the dough was left it to proof.  Punched down, proofed again.  Divided.  Then shaped.

Focaccia first.  I forgot to grab some “before the oven” pictures, because I had to get them in the steam oven in a hurry.  So below are my attempts at focaccia, fresh out of the oven.  I have two that are made with my olive oil infusion, rosemary, black olives and herbed goat cheese.

On my next two, I layered roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, marinated mushrooms and some more goat cheese. The steam oven made the dough nice and crispy. This could also be considered a pizza. In fact, the dough makes for a great traditional pizza dough.

Next I played around with the dough for the Italian bread. Taking the dough, I used the rolling pin to flatten out the dough into a semi rectangular shape. At this point, I still had enough focaccia toppings to use up, so I did. It all went onto the flattened dough. And then I rolled them up, almost like a stromboli. But, I then cut them into 6 pieces, closed off one end on those with openings on both, sat upright on a baking sheet with so the toppings are now fillings. For a softer bread, into the normal ovens these went.

















My last piece of dough was formed in a more traditional way. It started out like a big bagel, and ended up a nice round loaf. That’s cornmeal on the bottom, which is a common trait of Italian bread.

The day started out with a free Starbucks coffee and ended with a whole bag load of fantastic looking and tasty bread.  The herbs were fragrant and the toppings savoury.  I am obsessed with roasted garlic.  Just eating it alone smeared on some bread is amazing.  I could eat it all the time.  I learned some new recipes and some tips about how to use onions and make a tomato sauce.  It was quite a jam-packed afternoon.  *Clapping Dance, Clapping Dance*  =)


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