I have been an awful blogger lately, I hit my all-time low (or at least I hope so) last month with one measly post, and last week I didn’t even have the excuse of being busy with work. I spent my warm summer beach days lazily drifting along the ocean currents, soaking up the sun, and working my way through a back log of several months worth of Food and Wine, Bon Appétit, and Saveur Magazines. Not even the hovering shark-copter could get me to relinquish my blindingly yellow float, granted I was drifting in about a foot of water, sandwiched between two exposed sandbars, in the middle of a sunny day. I weighed my chances, and decided that if a Great White decided to bypass the several dozen seals, swim through about 20 yards worth of foot deep water, and jump across a 10 foot sandbar, well, then it was meant to be. You wouldn’t even be able to chalk that one up to bad luck. But back to my deplorable blog practices, although, I haven’t been getting it together to actually write them up and post them, I do have a back log of recipes and photos that want to some day share with you, and this is one of them.
Focaccia is one of the easiest breads to make. It only requires a single hour-long rise, which can be done overnight in the refrigerator if you are planning ahead, is made out of a few simple ingredients, and doesn’t require any fancy shaping, rolling, or equipment. This is one of my favorite picnicking breads. It’s great for sandwiches, and holds up well at room temperature. It’s easy, light, and the olive oil keeps it from becoming dry.
The batch I made for this post is coated in a light dusting of green salt, and if you are worried about getting your hands on some green salt, don’t fret, it one of those super easy things to make, that leaves you wondering, why haven’t I always been doing this? I also ran out of all purpose flour halfway through making his batch of dough, and had to improvise with amaranth flour. It gave my focaccia a wonderful nutty flavor, but the texture was slightly grainy and less bouncy then a traditional white focaccia. Still good, but definitely different.
- Sea Salt
- Hardy Fresh Herbs – Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme are a great combo
- Combine the salt and the herbs in a food processor until fully incorporated. Be generous in your use of herbs – the greener the better in my book. Green Salt has a fairly decent shelve life since the salt works as a preservative, and can be used to season anything from meat, to vegetables, to bread. It’s a great trick to have in your back pocket for the upcoming grilling season. You can further enhance it with the addition of garlic, lemon zest, or black pepper.
Green Salt Focaccia
- 4 1/2 – 5 cups Flour (or 3 1/2 cups AP Flour + 1 cup Amaranth Flour)
- 1 tbsp Yeast
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil + more for baking
- 1 1/2 cups warm Water
- Green Salt for sprinkling
- In a large bowl bloom the yeast in the water.
- Mix/Beat in the olive oil, salt, and 1 cup flour.
- Add in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time.
- Knead the dough until it’s stretchy and elastic.
- Coat the sides of a large container with olive oil.
- Transfer the dough into the container, and cover it.
- Allow the dough to rise for about a hour, or until it has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 F (~232 C).
- Generously coat the bottom of a baking sheet with olive oil.
- Dip your fingers in the olive oil, and up end the dough over the center of the baking sheet.
- Once the dough has plopped out, use your oil coated fingers to gently nudge the dough into a rectangle. Leave a couple of finger dimples as you go.
- Sprinkle with green salt.
- Allow the bread to rise for 15 minutes uncovered.
- Place the bread in the oven for 15 minutes, before reducing the temperature to 350 F (~177 C) and baking it for another 20 minutes.
- Leave the focaccia on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving it onto a wire cooling rack.
- Allow it to cool fully before serving.