Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Making a focaccia

I have made focaccia several times but this is my first using a starter. I recently bought a book from Overstock that goes by the same name. I love focaccia mainly because it resembles its cousin PIZZA, without the guilt. I hate saucy, cheesy pizzas and love the ones that have weird specialty toppings such as capers, arugula and cheeses such as gorgonzola and fontina. Yes, without the cheese you can eat more of the focaccia if you are not on a low-carb diet that is. I made the biga yesterday morning. I used 1/2 tsp yeast and almost 3.5 flour and let it mellow down at room temp until today. I have chosen to make a roasted red pepper focaccia or rather a schiacciata as known in Tuscany and Umbria. I can't wait to see what difference the starter makes to the taste of the focaccia.

The recipe is very finicky compared to my usual focaccia experiences. It needs 3 risings and also weighing the flour and the starter. Pastry chefs may adore working with such recipes but I don't. I constantly doubt my cheap weighing scale and also hate the additional cleaning up of the weighing bowl. I don't have a maid after all and my sink will not fit all the clutter this cooking is creating. This better be good...

I have screwed up as usual by not having my baking stone ready. I am just baking in a sheet pan. I have to spray the oven with water 3 times, so I have to hover around the oven with my timer. I will use some roasted garlic and roasted red peppers as the toppings.

Update- The focaccia was ok but it seemed to taste the same as ones made without a starter. Much of the effort was in making the starter, weighing it and freezing the rest. I made a normal focaccia recipe once as shown on Food 911 on FoodTV. It was far superior, IMO.

But most focaccia recipes seem to call for a lot of oil and this makes me cringe. It is easy to eat a lot of focaccia 'coz you do not see the oil in the end product.

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