Monday, October 8, 2012

Rosemary and Onion Focaccia

Each month, I flip through my copy of Bon Appetit and try to decide which recipe I will make that month.  September was a particularly easy month.  Of course there were plenty of great-looking recipes to choose from, but once I saw this one, I instantly knew what I was going to be making.  You see, the minute someone even mentions the word focaccia, I'm on board.  After all, just about every focaccia has onions, olive oil, and salt and there is nothing not to love about any of those things.  But then this particular focaccia adds a little something extra to the mix--fresh herbs.  This recipe calls for both fresh oregano and fresh rosemary--a combination I cannot resist.

As it turned out, my focaccia-making instinct was right on.  This bread was great.  At less than an inch thick, it is thinner than any other focaccia I have ever eaten, but its height allows the taste of the olive oil to shine.  While the crust is slightly crisp, the interior of the bread is wonderfully chewy and slightly moist.

Another bonus is the ease with which this recipe can be prepared.  The dough comes together quickly, rests overnight, and then is ready to be stretched out and worked with the next day.   The active work time is minimal.  So minimal, in fact, that I have made this recipe three times in the past month and I don't intend to stop making it any time soon.

Now, just so you know, I peeked over at the Bon Appetit site and noticed that this recipe was poorly reviewed.  I had already made the recipe by the time I noticed this so the reviews  didn't inspire any of my modifications.  However, I did use more yeast than recommended and I opted to knead the dough by hand since I do not own a stand mixer.  I also increased the rising time because I wasn't convinced that letting the dough rise for only an hour before placing it in the fridge would be sufficient. 

Rosemary and Onion Focaccia
Source: Bon Appetit, September 2012

4 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more
1¾ cups all-purpose flour plus more
1½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp active dry yeast
¾ cup warm water
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

1.  In a large bowl, combine 1¾ cups flour, salt, yeast, and sugar.  Create a well in the center.  Pour ¾ cup warm water into the center.  Stir with a wooden spoon until a ragged dough forms.  Right in the bowl, knead the dough, sprinkling with flour by tablespoonfuls as necessary to prevent sticking.  Knead until smooth (it took me about two to three minutes, though the recipe said it would be closer to five).   Temporarily remove the dough from the bowl, coat the bowl with olive oil, place the dough in the bowl  (flip it over once so that both sides are coated).  Cover  the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest in the bowl for two hours.

2. Place the bowl in the fridge and allow it to rest overnight.

3.  Brush two tbsp of olive oil on a large baking sheet.    Stretch and press the dough into a rectangle slightly smaller than the sheet.  Brush dough with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm, draft-free area until dough has almost doubled in size, about 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Remove plastic wrap and dimple  with your fingertips.  Scatter onion and herbs over dough.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Bake focaccia until the edges are golden brown (about 10 minutes).  Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

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