Focaccia is becoming my favourite bread in the world. I’ve been making focaccia almost every week now. You can use Focaccia as a sandwich bread but what I love to do is slice a piece and dip it in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you love rosemary, the smell of focaccia out of the oven is incredible. I haven’t added anything else to the focaccia like tomatoes, cheese, olives or anything else that you want to add to it. It can really be a meal! It freezes really well too. I love that you only really need a few ingredients for this recipe but if you do it right, you get an incredible taste. I had focaccia this morning for breakfast with my poached eggs. You don’t have to use rosemary either, you can use any other herb that you prefer.
I used the recipe from the Antipasto Table by Michele Scicolone. I’ve had increase the amount of water that what was in the recipe. You have to add the water a little at a time until you feel the dough is smooth and elastic and doesn’t stick too much. I also like to add a little rosemary inside the dough. Not more than a tablespoon and I like using fresh rosemary that I’ve sliced in smaller pieces.
1 package extra dry yeast
1 to 2 cups warm water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh Rosemary and sea salt.
Activate the yeast in a 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 1 tsp sugar. Let stand for 4 minutes or until it reaches half a cup.
Place flour in a bowl with the salt, yeast, olive oil and gradually add some water. Stir the mixture until soft dough forms. Turn the dough onto a slightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour if the dough feels sticky or more water if the dough feels to dry.
Oil a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning it once to oil the top. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in bulk. about 1-2 hours. My apartment is cold and the only way I can proof bread is in my oven. I turn on the oven on the lowest setting for 5 minutes then turn it off so it’s warm but not hot. Then I put the dough in. It dries out my dough on the top because of it so next time I’m going to try to dampen my cloth.
When the dough has doubled in size, I remove it from the bowl and use a rolling pin and roll it to approx. 14” x 9” depending on how thin or thick you want the slices. Oil the pan that you want to use and place it on the tray. Take or brush or your hands and spread extra virgin olive oil on top and with the tip of your fingers, make dents all over the dough. This creates multiple wells in the bread with the olive oil which will maintain its moisture. Sprinkle the top with sea salt and fresh rosemary.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. I let rise my dough again for 15-20 minutes or until you put a dent in the dough and it comes back very slowly and only half way so you still see a dent. That’s when you know your dough is ready.
Place it in the oven at 400 F. for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Remove from the oven when it’s ready and place it on a cooling rack. My favourite part is cutting a piece when it’s still warm. So delicious!
Another great cake from the Tartine book. This book is starting to be one of my favourite baking books! The photography is gorgeous, love the paper quality, the recipes are well written and the ingredients have been easy to find. This cake was so perfect! It tastes a lot better than it looks. I love dates in baked goods and the combination of dates, toasted walnuts and bananas was delicious. It’s so moist, not too sweet, and after you have one slice, you want another one. The crunchiness of the sugar on top of the bananas was amazing! I love all the layers of different flavours in this loaf.
1 cup + 2 tbsp (155 g) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
3 medium bananas, very ripe
2 large eggs
1 & 1/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla extract
1/2 (2 mL) salt
6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (170 g) sugar
1 cup (115 g) walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1 & 3/4 cups (225 g) dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 medium banana
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
2. This recipe is easily mixed by stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed or by hand with a wooden spoon. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda, and stir to mix. Set aside. Peel the three bananas and place in a second bowl. Mash with a fork until you have a chunky puree. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt to the bananas and stir to mix well. Set aside.
3. In a third mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and beat until light in colour and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Slowly add the banana mixture and beat until incorporated. Again scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for around another 30 seconds, making sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
4. Using the rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture. Then fold in the nuts and dates. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again, making sure the ingredients are fully incorporated.
5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. To top the cake, peel the banana and cut in half lengthwise. Then place each half cut side down and cut in half lengthwise, to yield four long slices. Lay the slices on top of the batter. Sprinkle with the sugar.
6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan or a wire rack for about 20 minutes, and then invert onto the rack, turn right side up, and let cool completely. Serve the cake at room temperature. It will keep, well wrapped at room temperature for 2 days,or in the fridge for about 1 week.
–Recipe from Tartine, by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson, page 104, Chronicle Books.
Shortbread is such a basic recipe with only 3 ingredients: flour, sugar and butter but after looking online for recipes, I found there were so many different variations. I found one that I used but changed a little. I added some rice flour to add a bit of crunch to it. Some people like to use some cornstarch which does the opposite and makes it a bit softer. I like that this shortbread isn’t very sweet but it’s very buttery. There are different ways of shaping the shortbread. Some people like to roll it out and slice it in 3” x 1” rectangles. Others bake them in cake pans and slice them like cakes. I rolled it in a one inch log that I refrigerated for an hour then sliced them half an inch thick.
Makes 40 cookies.
455 g. Unsalted butter
220 g. dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
185 g. Rice flour
375g. all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 F. Cream butter and sugar. Add flour. Mix well. Sprinkle your counter with some flour so dough doesn’t stick and roll it out as a log. You can make several logs. It doesn’t matter because they will be sliced later. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes so it’s easier to slice. Slice them half an inch thick. Prick with a fork and place them on a baking tray.
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Recipe from Fine Cooking
I found this recipe in the 2009 Holiday baking issue of Fine Cooking. I’ve been really successful so far with everything that I’ve tried from this issue. I love the sweetness of the crust and tanginess from the cranberries. Next time, I would cut down on the sugar in the filling. It’s too sweet. I used frozen cranberries.
The next book that I’m putting on my wish list is Tartine Book 3. I would rather be in San Francisco at the Tartine bakery, but I would have to save up some money for that trip which is really hard to do right now. I’m looking for a 2nd job right now because I ‘m not making enough money from my baking job. There’s something else that I’d like more than a book right now. It’s having my dream kitchen in my dream home and that means saving a lot of money.
I’m glad I don’t have cable, because if I did, I would be watching food shows for hours. This is the latest one that I just discovered. It’s relatively new from the Cake Boss. It’s Bakery Boss and it’s the same concept as a lot of shows where they go into a restaurant and make it better but it’s based on a bakery. This is a great show for anyone wanting to open a bakery.