Focaccia & Fall

    For the last few weeks, a definite feeling of Fall has been in the air in North-Central Montana. Although we don't get the bright red and orange New England colors during the change of seasons, the trees turn beautiful shades of yellow and orange.
    Because I'm a Desert Rat at heart, I'm sorry to see the end of Summer, but as always, there are good things around every corner. One of the good things about the end of Summer? Soup weather! I know you're wondering why I'm talking about soup when there's a picture of a book about pizza here, but it'll all work out - trust me! 

    Does anybody remember watching The Pizza Gourmet on PBS in the late 1980's?  I watched it on Saturday mornings - probably just before or just after watching The Frugal Gourmet. 
    I sent for Chef Carl's book way back when, and have used it many, many times since. One of my favorite recipes from this book is for the Antipasto Salad. I've made it several times and besides being delicious, it makes for a show-stopper presentation on a big platter.


    Another recipe I've used again and again over the years is the one for the basic pizza dough that can be used for making pizza, calzones, and focaccia. I especially like it for focaccia and that's what I'm making tonight to accompany our soup!
    Basic Pizza Dough - adapted from The Pizza Gourmet 
    2 T dry yeast
    1 T sugar
    2 cups warm water
    1 tsp salt
    4.5 - 5 cups flour
    3 T olive oil

    Put warm water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Sprinkle dry yeast over water. Add sugar and 1 cup flour. Mix well. Add salt and olive oil and gradually add the rest of the flour until you have a soft dough.

    Put dough into a greased bowl and let rise until doubled*. 

    Remove dough from bowl and pat onto a greased, rimmed cookie sheet. "Dimple" the dough with your knuckles. Drizzle with olive oil. Add seasonings** to top of focaccia. Bake a425° until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.


    Notes: *To help the dough rise more quickly, I turn the oven on to 350° for about 5 minutes, then turn it off. I put foil over the bowl and pop it into the oven until the dough has doubled; about an hour-and-a-half. **Add whatever seasonings you would like to the focaccia. I used ground pepper, Kosher salt, dried parsley and a jarred sun-dried tomato paste. Other ideas would be minced garlic, fresh basil, rosemary or parsley, sliced black olives. Or, keep it simple with just olive oil and Kosher salt.

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Focaccia & Fall


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