Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fresh Herb Focaccia


Saturday, June 24, 2006
I was a little apprehensive about making focaccia again since my first attempt was not successful, but this is an absolutely wonderful bread. I've noticed that every bread I've made with durum wheat has outstanding flavor and texture, so when I run out, I'll definitely order more.
This dough is great for your inner three-year-old. You knead it by hand, with a special technique that involves stretching and turning and pressing--in non-technical terms, you play with it. It's a lot like playing with Play-Doh only it's the real thing. It was also very satisfying to see it turn from a rather unpromising mass with blobs of olive-oil-soaked flour into a smooth, pliable dough.
And this bread is very forgiving. I made a few mistakes with it, and it didn't seem to mind at all. I forgot to add the salt, so I just kneaded it in after it had already risen, and let it rise again. Then I neglected to roll it out on floured parchment paper (and the directions are quite clear about this), so I had to scrape it off the counter and plop it onto the parchment. It got a little misshapen, but nothing really bad happened to it.
I gathered fresh basil, parsley, chives, and rosemary from my herb garden, placed them on half of the bread, folded it over, spread it with olive oil, and sprinkled it with some French sea salt (another unreasonable bread expenditure--$10 for a jar with a picture of French peasant women gathering what looks like gray ocean scum). It's very salty salt. It may not be worth $10, but maybe my palate is just not sufficiently sophisticated. It's sophisticated enough to appreciate this bread, though, which I must say is probably the best focaccia I've ever tasted.
Jim and I went to the new Trader Joe's and got gravlax, salami, cheese and strawberries to eat with the bread. Our wine was even a step or two up from Trader Joe's Three Buck Chuck. Another delightful Saturday afternoon cocktail hour.

2 comments:

evil cake lady said...

your focaccia looks delicious, but it was the description about the sea salt that i enjoyed the most!

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