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Better Baking Academy: Summer Focaccia

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INGREDIENT BREAKDOWN

Great recipes require great ingredients. Here’s how each of our recipe’s simple ingredients contributes to making focaccia you’ll fawn over. 

WATER: Moisture, in the form of warm water, is needed to activate the yeast and hydrate the dough so the gluten can develop. Because focaccia dough isn’t kneaded with a traditional kneading process, this dough relies on a higher hydration level. This high hydration not only helps to build elasticity, but in the oven, the water is converted to steam, which helps leaven the dough and prevents the crust from forming too quickly and burning.

EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: Extra-virgin olive oil plays multiple parts in our focaccia, enriching the dough with fat and adding a savory flavor. Extra-virgin olive oil is the finest-produced olive oil from the first press and contains only 1% acid. Smooth, with a fruity flavor, the color ranges from golden yellow to pale green. Olive oil also makes the dough more elastic, lubricating the dough so it is easier to stretch. Finally, drizzling the dough with olive oil before adding toppings helps create a barrier and keeps moisture from effecting the dough, making a crispier crust.

BOB’S RED MILL ARTISAN BREAD FLOUR: The process of folding the dough to develop the gluten network calls for a high-protein flour. Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour offers plenty of protein to create an elastic network of gluten without traditional kneading and, as a bonus, leads to the perfectly chewy texture of focaccia.

KOSHER SALT: As a general rule of thumb, the ratio of salt to flour in breads is 1.8% to 2% of flour weight. It’s important to weigh your salt because different salt crystals measure differently. Dough without enough salt easily overferments. Salt also helps with crust color and enhances flavor.

INSTANT YEAST: In contrast to active dry yeast, instant yeast contains 25% more living yeast cells because it is processed more gently. A single-celled organism, yeast will grow and multiply when it receives the following: moisture, food (sugar and carbs), and warmth. It leavens the dough by converting carbohydrates into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.

SUMMER PRODUCE: We chose an array of colorful sweet peppers for our Summer Focaccia, but feel free to add any seasonal produce of your choice. Tomatoes, corn, summer squash, and onions make great additions, as well as fresh herbs like chives, basil, thyme, and rosemary. You can also reach for olives, capers, cheeses, and cured meats to turn it up a notch.

FLAKED SEA SALT: Used as a finishing salt, this ultra-light and flaky sea salt adds a soft crunch and delicately salty flavor to baked goods.

Summer Focaccia

In Italy, regional variations of focaccia range from sweet and enriched versions to salty and savory renditions, but one thing is for certain: this bread is beloved wherever it travels. We started our classic olive oil-based focaccia with high-protein Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour, developing its gluten structure through a simple folding process to build elasticity and create a light and airy crumb. After the second rise, we created the dimples characteristic of this Italian bread, which allows the olive oil to permeate into the dough, creating an unbeatable crisp crust and chewy crumb. A meal in itself or the perfect sandwich companion, this is your go-to bread for the summer.



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