Sunday, September 19, 2010

Onion Focaccia

I'm not usually a focaccia fan, but this is a focaccia to write home about. Or at least share semi-anonymously with people on the internet. I think it's usually because I find focaccia really dry and this one is not, because it has DELICIOUS ONIONS baked into it as well as the traditional olive oil and salt, which also grace the top of the bread. I think I'm on an onion kick these days, what with the caramelized onion burgers from a while back.

This recipe is from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook called Bread, which is actually really good. Probably because the recipes are by Beth Hensperger. It has basic yeast breads as well as quick breads without yeast and special breads like challah and focaccia. Every recipe I've tried so far has been great. And actually, if you are going to start making bread, this is a good recipe to start with. It's pretty straight-forward.

So here, for your enjoyment, is the recipe:

You need:

1 TBS yeast
1 TBS sugar
1.5 c warm water
1/2 c good olive oil plus some for greasing and topping
1.5 TBS table salt
4-4.5 c flour
1 medium (not gigantic) yellow onion, chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

1. Proof the yeast by sprinkling it over the warm water and the sugar and let it sit for 10 minutes. It should get foamy.

2. Slowly mix in the flour, the salt, and half the olive oil a bit at a time, then mix in the onion. You should end up with a really soft shaggy dough that is slightly sticky -- you don't have to add all the flour if you don't need it but do be sure to knead the bread for at least 10 minutes.

3. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it. Let it rise for 20 minutes.

4. Line a heavy-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper with oil. Then turn out the dough onto the sheet and press it into shape with your fingers. It should be about an inch thick all the way around. Cover it with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise again for about an hour.

5. Make nice deep indentations in the bread with your fingers, almost to the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the top with the rest of the olive oil (1/4 c) and let rise again, covered, for another 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 425ºF.

6. Sprinkle the top of the bread with sea salt and rosemary leaves and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is nicely golden. Let it cool a bit, then slice into it and devour with gusto. It's delicious when dipped in olive oil and balsamic, but it also makes a nice sandwich bread, for a change.

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