So I’ve fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole of bread making lately. I have been cooking for awhile, for years actually, but the baking thing has eluded me. Precise measurements, finite ingredients, elaborate pre-planning around baking times – not really my thing but I’ve recently started to dabble in bread making and now I’m hooked. So I decided to make a little something special for my nieces for Valentine’s Day and thought that it was cute enough to share with you, even after the fact. May be a little late, but good food is always welcome. A simple focaccia for one and an olive and caramelized onion fougasse for the other. Both heart shaped, what could have been a better present? This would be a great gift, anytime. Here are my recipes and results. Thanks to Wild Yeast for the recipes and inspiration.
(from Wild Yeast)
Yield: one 10 x 15-inch focaccia
Mix: 10 minutes
First fermentation : 1 hour, with a fold at 30 minutes
1 t. fresh rosemary leaves, or other herb(s) of your choice
1/2 t. coarse salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flours, yeast, 9 g salt, olive oil, and 350 g of the water. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, about 5 minutes.
Continue mixing on medium speed to a medium level of gluten development. The dough should hold together around the hook.
Add the remaining 50 grams of water and mix until the water is completely incorporated. The dough will be very wet.
Transfer the dough to an olive-oiled container. Immediately give the dough a fold (this can be done right in the container). Cover and ferment for one hour, or until the dough is approximately doubled in size, with another fold after the first 30 minutes.
Turn the dough into a rimmed 10 x 15-inch sheet pan that has been well oiled with olive oil. With oiled fingers, gently stretch and press the dough out to the sides of the pan. If the dough resists, go a little bit, let the dough relax for a minute or two, and go a little more.
6. Slip the pan into a large plastic bag and proof at room temperature for 30 minutes.
7. Dimple the dough by pressing into it firmly with oiled fingertips until they feel the pan.
8. Slip the pan back into the plastic bag and proof until approximately doubled in size, about one hour and 15 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. You will need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
10. Before baking, brush the dough gently with olive oil, taking care not to degas it. Sprinkle with herbs and coarse salt.
11. Bake for 8 minutes with steam, and another 17 minutes or so without steam, until the focaccia is golden brown.
12. Remove immediately from the pan, brush again with olive oil, and cool on a wire rack.
(from Wild Yeast)
Mix: 45 minutes
First fermentation : 2.5 hours with a fold at 1 hour
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, rye flour, water, and starter. Mix in low speed until the ingredients just form a shaggy mass. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Add the salt and olive oil and mix in low speed until just combined. Continue mixing in medium speed to a medium level of gluten development. This will probably take less than five minutes, but will depend on your mixer.
Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured counter. Flatten it out and add inclusions. Fold the dough over so the add-ins are enclosed inside, and continue folding gently until they are evenly mixed into the dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for 2.5 hours, with a fold after the first hour.
Turn the dough into a lightly floured counter and divide it into two pieces. To shape each fougasse:
Place the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and pat/stretch it into a roughly trangular shape about 12 inches across at the base and 16 inches tall. Use a dough scraper to make cuts in the dough as shown, and widen the cut spaces with your fingers.
Proof, covered, for 2.5 – 3 hours (bake the first one at 2.5 hours so the second will have proofed for almost 3 hours).
Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 495F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
Just before baking, brush the dough lightly with olive oil.
Once the fougasse is in the oven, reduce the temperature to 470F. Bake for 8 minutes with steam, and another 10 minutes or so without steam, until the crust is crisp.