Bake 1: Focaccia

What to pick first? So many choices. There wasn’t an index list of the recipes, so I went through the whole book writing down the titles and their classification. They are rated by difficulty (levels 1, 2, 3 and star bakes). But in the end, I chose something familiar that I had doIMG_3304ne before- Focaccia and it had the advantage of doing double duty as dinner to go with the nice leek and potato soup I had made. So I lined up everything, including good bread flour (which will have more gluten than standard). One challenge for me was volumes. I’m horrible at guessing volumes as you can tell when I make fruit salad and there are a pile of dirty bowls because I couldn’t tell which one to use! Richard had a great hint of taking a picture on your phone of the dough as a reference for when it has “doubled”, but that works best with a straight edged container, and I have bowls. However, one of the bowl set I have has ridges in it so I got the great idea of putting known volumes of water in it and taking pictures. The first dough was about 750 mls, so I chose the line that was about 1500 mls on the bowl. After an hour when it hadn’t risen enough, so put in my oven that I had put on warm and then turned off to act as a “proofing” drawer. And then I forgot about it until it had way over proofed. That is me in a nutshell. Pretty bright, but easily distracted.


Still I beat it down and cooked my first two loafs of bread from the book. Good and bad…. The shapes flattened out and I also feel like the holes were two even and small- “too tight” and that may have been due to over-proofing. I keep hearing about over or under proofing- but will need to learn how to recognize it. The good was that the bread tasted amazing. Really! Best ever! Well baked, great crust-firm and crisp without being too tough. The best part was the combinaIMG_1453tion of flavor toppings from the book. Green olives (good fat ones without anything in them from the olive bar) fresh rosemary and salt. I only put olives on 1/4 of the bread, as my family doesn’t like olives, but after trying it, my husband wants olives on his next time. They roasted on the bread and really increased the olive oil taste that is at the core of the focaccia taste. That with the fresh rosemary combined to make a rich fragrant flavor. Now that I have tasted for real the first of these recipes, I am convinced even more that I have chosen well and I thrilled to try the next 81 recipes- Next- Pizza!


Filed under First 10 Bakes

3 Responses to Bake 1: Focaccia

  1. Pdk

    Looks delicious!

  2. Not only is focaccia a great starter bread, since it is relatively light in consistency, but it makes the perfect sponge for mopping up a saucy stew, hearty roast or hot soup. Warm out of the oven, this bread will thaw the chilliest winter bones.

    • Kathleen

      So true!! Particularly with a really fresh tomato sauce which has some bite to it to balance the salty rich chew of the bread. I think I’ll have to try again to get more uneven loose crumb now that I’m almost done with the slew of work that has kept me from baking.