Friday, June 19, 2009

Mmmmm... Focaccia

So there it is... and I've gotta say: it's pretty amazing. Well worth the effort. It's super rich, with all that oil, but Reinhart was right when he said the bread would absorb it all... the only part that was oily, and only slightly so, was the bottom. I was surprised at how light and fluffy the interior was... almost delicate... and it ended up thicker than I expected... the pieces pictured are maybe 1.5-2 inches thick. Anna and I were in the middle of a [WoW Nerd Alert] Zul'Farrak run with a surprisingly awesome pickup group when it was supposed to go in the oven... and who is going to abandon a chance to get a Carrot on a Stick, for some bread? Not me... I gots my priorities. [End WoW Nerd] So I think it rose a little more than Reinhart asked for. It ended up being 4 hours out on the counter from the fridge instead of 3, and had risen to more like 1.25 to 1.5 inches in height instead of 1. I'm quite happy with the texture and consistency of the finished product, and it didn't fall in the oven or anything... so I suppose it all worked out for the best. I was also quite happy with the herb oil... especially the cayenne pepper and paprika... the little bit of spiciness was a nicer touch than I would have imagined.

The steps for this final day are pretty straightforward. You need to get it out of the fridge so it can warm up and finish proofing. Take another 1/4 cup or so of your herb oil and dimple in as much as you want... as the man says, the dough will absorb it as it cooks... you should be able to push the dough into the corners now. Then cover it back up in plastic and leave it on the counter for 3 hours, or until it's risen to 1 inch in height. Thirty minutes before you plan to cook it, move a rack o the middle, and preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Put the focaccia in, lower the temp to 450, and cook for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and cook for another 5-10 minutes, taking it out when it's golden and the temp at the center is 200 degrees. Transfer it immediately from the pan to a cooling rack, and wait 20 minutes (longest 20 minutes ever) to cut and serve.

Day 1 of chimpanzee focaccia making is here. More photos are here.