Thursday, 20 February 2014

Focaccia Caprese

Its been a very very long time, almost 8 months,since I have posted anything on my blog... Quite an unacceptable mistake from my part. It wasnt a decision made or just that I was plain lazy. Its just that there was a lot happening at my end that I couldnt get the time to sit peacefully( even now Im kind of indulging in a small war with my baby to write this,motherhood woes) and type something.

I have started up a small business and that took up almost all of my time, no regrets at all though. I have been wanting to do something on my own and at the same time wont affect the time I spent with my baby. Thats how I started Cookieman, at Viviana Mall,Thane. If ever you guys get the time Do visit the counter.

Getiing back to cooking, I think it was somewhere in March that I came across the group We Knead To Bake. Its a group organised by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. I wanted to join the group but it was late and had to wait for the next batch,which commences the next year. I waited and joined the moment she announced the next batch. So the first bread we had to bake was Focaccia Caprese. Have to say its the most softest bread I have made or eaten till date. Its really soft and fragrant. 

Recipe Source   - The Kitchen Whisperer
Recipe Adapted - Aparna
For the Dough:
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour*
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
A little more olive oil for brushing dough

For theTopping:
4-5 larg-ish tomatoes, sliced thin
1 6-7” round piece of fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into1/4” slices**
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

For theHerbed Oil:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tspdried oregano
1 tspdried basil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tspfinely minced garlic/ paste
Salt to taste
Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

* If you cannot find bread flour, you can add 1 tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten to 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix together well. Otherwise just use 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
**Since I did not get buffalo mozarella, I used Amul Cheese, but didnt like it as it did not melt as it was combination of mozarella and cheddar.

First make the herbed oil. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.

The dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand or machine. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky.

Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.

You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia. For the rectangular Focaccia, take two rectangular pans/ jelly or Swiss roll pans (I just rolled it into a rectangle and placed in the baking tray)and oil them well. Then divide the dough into two equal portions and lightly roll them (or press out) out into approximately 11” by 7”. If making 4 Focaccia, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out (or press out) evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. It alright if it’s an odd shape because Focaccia is really a “rustic” bread.

Transfer the dough to the baking tins. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.

Bake at 210C (410F) for about 18 to 20 minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Take the Focaccia out and turn up the heat of your oven to 230C (450F).  

Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.

Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve while it is still hot. This recipe should serve 4 if served alone or 6 if served with a side.

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