Thursday, April 17, 2008

Baby Steps

Lately, I've been trying to bake a bit more- cookies, cakes, and now breads. I've never been a good baker...even with a box mix. I would like to blame my stove for not providing the proper even heat, but I do think some of it has to do with me. The more I practice though, the better I am becoming. Cooking comes more naturally to me in that it isn't a precise science. I can cook by taste and instinct rather than by measuring out ingredients. Baking requires me to measure everything out very carefully since a pinch too much of something can throw the whole recipe off! Somehow, I did manage to make this focaccia and it didn't turn out too bad.

My changes: I used a russet potato instead of yukon and used roma tomatoes instead of cherry.

Potato Focaccia
taken directly from The Wednesday Chef

Makes one 8-inch focaccia

1 medium Yukon Gold potato

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon fresh yeast
A pinch of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more for salting water
2/3 cup warm water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced crosswise
1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano
Coarse sea salt

1. Wash the potato and place in a small saucepan along with enough water to cover the potato by an inch. Place the pot over high heat, covered, and bring to a boil. Add a handful of kosher salt to the water. Simmer until the potato is tender when pierced with a knife, around 20 minutes. Drain the potato and let it cool. Peel the potato and mash finely with a fork. Set aside.

2. Put the yeast in a large mixing bowl along with a pinch of sugar. Add the warm water in a thin stream over the yeast, using a fork to help dissolve the yeast entirely. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes.

3. Pour the flour into the yeast water and stir with a fork, then add the mashed potato and the salt. The dough will be relatively thick and shaggy. Use the fork to incorporate the potato into the flour. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and begin to knead the dough by hand. It will come together quite quickly. Knead against the bowl for a minute or so, until it is relatively smooth. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky to handle. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest, covered with a kitchen towel, in the bowl for an hour.

4. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan. Using your fingertips, gently release the puffy and risen dough from the bowl and place it in the cake pan. Gently tug and pat it out so that it fits the pan. Cover the top of the focaccia with the tomato halves, distributing them evenly. Sprinkle the oregano and a large pinch of coarse salt over the tomatoes, drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and let it rest for another hour.

5. While the focaccia is resting, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the cake pan in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes before removing the focaccia from the pan.

1 comment:

Ethan said...

Beautiful! And looks delicious. I will definitely try this.