And so it begins – March 2015. This is the start of our bake along with the wonderful (my favorite) book by Rose Levy Beranbaum – The Bread Bible. Let me just start by saying that if you like making bread then this is the book for you. The recipes are clear and concise and once you’ve made a few of them, you will learn a bunch. In fact, it will make you want to keep baking bread. At least it did for me. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipes either. Just make sure to read and reread them several times.
The first recipe up is Rosemary Focaccia Sheet. This is one recipe that I hadn’t made but now I’m glad I did. It’s an easy one to do but it does have its quirks. It’s a very wet and soupy dough but the magic in it is that after mixing the dough what seems like forever, it finally comes together. What intrigues me about baking bread is the simple ingredients which are usually flour, water, yeast, and salt. Sometimes sugar too. Those simple ingredients can make so many different types of bread, it’s just crazy.
Of course, I stuck the rosemary and olive oil in the picture. All you do is mix the flour and yeast together then add the water. A lot of water! Mix for around 20 minutes with the mixer on medium and just when you think that the dough isn’t coming together, voila, sort of a dough ball magically appears. I thought it was interesting that Rose said the add the salt and sugar at the end but by doing this it gives the gluten a chance to develop and it makes the bread nice and chewy.
Funny, Rose said the dough would look like melted mozzarella. I think so.
Into the proof box it went for around 4 hours. I used my Brod & Taylor proof box set to 80ºF and it doubled in about 3-1/2 hours.
Now it’s time to put it on the sheet that has been bathed with olive oil, My sheet pan wasn’t quite the right size, I had one that was either too small or too big so I opted for the bigger one. The dough needed to be stretched out to fill the pan. I had to wait a few times for the dough to behave but finally it worked out.
Then it was time to dimple the dough. Once done with that, the rosemary is added along with some Fleur de Sel (love that stuff) and a drizzle of olive oil.
Off to bake for around 13 minutes or so. Mine took a bit longer but I know at higher temperatures, my oven is a little off so it took about 20 minutes to bake.
Such a fun dough to work with. Love all the air bubbles. The taste? Wonderful, I ate too much of it but it’s so good. Crunchy, chewy, just the way I like it. Next time I make it, I’m going to find the right size pan so it won’t be so thin.
If you love baking bread and want to learn everything you can about the process, you can get Rose’s book from Amazon. You won’t be sorry. Also check out what the other Alpha Bakers are doing on our blog Bread Bible Alpha Bakers.
Next month – Pita Bread. I’m already thinking of what to make with it, can’t wait!