Thursday, February 28, 2008

Three Color Focaccia

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The famous duo of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid traveled for two decades throughout the world doing culinary research and travel photography. In their quest, they found that nearly every culture and cuisine had a form of flatbread, whether leavened or unleavened and usually included ingredients indigenous to that particular country and cuisine.

Three Color Focaccia has the colors of the Italian flag,red sun-dried tomatoes, green sage and green flat-leaf parsley incorporated throughout the tender potato dough. This recipe is from their book "Flatbreads and Other Flavors" and is their version of a focaccia recipe from Carol Field's book, The Italian Baker. Three Color Focaccia is my entry into Bread Baking Day #7 hosted by chiliundciabatta.

Baking the breads in cast-iron pans gives them a nice crisp crust.I have a collection of different sized cast-iron skillets;the one on the lower left of the photo below is over 50 years old and was my mother's. The cast-iron pans are of assorted sizes, so I adjusted the baking times to compensate for the difference.

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
4-5 cups hard unbleached white flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups chopped cooked peeled potatoes(about 4 medium)
1/2 cup potato water
1/2 cup packed flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup packed fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (if you use dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes, drain, and pat dry before using)
olive oil for brushing
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Place the warm water in a large bread bowl and add the yeast and 2 cups flour. Stir to blend, then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, inn the same direction to develop the gluten. Let this sponge stand, covered, for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Heat oil in a medium skillet, and fry the onions over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until translucent, about five minutes. Set aside.

Puree the potatoes in a blender with the potato cooking water. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the onion, parsley, sage, oil and salt.

Add 1/2 cup flour to the sponge and stir well. Then add the potato mixture and stir thoroughly. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes, dusting both your hands and the kneading surface generously with the remaining 1-2 cups flour at intervals as you work, until the dough is no longer sticky, but soft and tender to the touch. Clean the bread bowl, oil lightly, and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 to 3 hours until at least doubled in volume.

Gently punch down the dough, and cut it in half. Set one half aside, covered with plastic wrap. Cut the remaining dough in half. Form each piece into a ball. Generously oil two 8-9 cast-iron skillets or pie plates. Place a ball of dough in each skillet. Press down on the center of each ball of dough and gently press it out towards the edges of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Just before the first batch of focaccia has finished rising, shape the remaining dough into two loaves. (You may refrigerate remaining dough, well sealed in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. Uncover and bring to room temperature before shaping and baking.)

When the first batch has risen, brush the tops gently but generously with olive oil. Press your fingers firmly into the dough to create deep dimples all over. Lightly sprinkle each one with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake another 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. turn the breads out onto a rack and let stand for at least 10 minutes to firm before slicing. If baking the remaining breads, turn the temperature back up to 400 F. Repeat first batch procedure.

Makes 4 round breads about 8 inches across and 2 inches thick.

From "Flatbreads and Flavors, A Baker's Atlas" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid .


Toothfairyrecipes said...

Looks great and am sure tastes wonderful.Cant wait to try it:-)

Dhanggit said...

oh this is definitely a gorgeous looking focaccia!! :-)

Jo. said...

Mmmmmmm...Looks so nice. If only I was not so lazy I could bake them as well...;-)

Deborah said...

This sounds absolutely delicious!

Lynnylu said...

toothfairyrecipes-thanks for visiting my blog.
jo-the bread is easy and not too time-consuming.

Fearless Kitchen said...

I've always been a lousy baker, so I usually make my husband bake the bread. This could make me change my mind... it looks fabulous!

Lynnylu said...

fearless kitchen-believe me, this bread is easy to make. I froze mine for a few weeks and they were still fresh.

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