Sunday, January 26, 2014

Focaccia Caprese (Italian Bread) We Knead to Bake #13

Focaccia Caprese  (Italian Bread) We Knead to Bake #13

My first recipe on the blog is a Italian bread baking recipe.
I have been thinking of starting my blog for long time.  Aparna's "We Knead to Bake Group" gave me the right opportunity to start the blog. I enjoy being part of this group as it gives me the needed push to not only try but also post at-least once a month! ( Thanks Aparna).

I was not spelling the name of this bread correctly, until I was being corrected by a friend of mine.
Focaccia is spelled as fo·cac·cia.

I followed the exact recipe, from here  (Aparna's Diverse Kitchen)and the bread came out with the perfect texture and color. Full recipe from the source listed below.

The main part I felt was to make a soft dough, and my Cuisinart hand mixer does a great job to make soft dough while I can do other preparation work for the bread.

For the Dough:
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour*
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
A little more olive oil for brushing dough
For the Topping:
4-5 larg-ish tomatoes, sliced thin
1 6-7” round piece of fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into1/4” slices**
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
For the Herbed Oil:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano  (I used 3/4 tsp)
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp finely minced garlic/ paste
Salt to taste

Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

* If you cannot find bread flour, you can add 1 tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten to 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix together well. 
Otherwise just use 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
**I used this BelGioioso Pre-Sliced Mozzarella cheese available at Sams club or any other grocery stores.

First make the herbed oil. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.
The dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand or machine. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky.
Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.
You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller ones like I did. For the rectangular Focaccia, take two rectangular pans/ jelly or Swiss roll pans (I used an 11" by 7" tins) and oil them well. Then divide the dough into two equal portions and lightly roll them (or press out) out into approximately 11” by 7”. If making 4 Focaccia, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out (or press out) evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. It alright if it’s an odd shape because Focaccia is really a “rustic” bread.
Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.
Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve while it is still hot. This recipe should serve 4 if served alone or 6 if served with a side.

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