Thursday, May 28, 2015

April Genius and Fail

I listen to an excellent mama podcast that asks listeners to report their genius and fail moments for the week, in an effort to celebrate/sympathize with the daily life of being a parent. April's challenge was certainly a genius and fail moment for me.

Genius moments? I made homemade focaccia! With a two-month old! Friends came over for dinner! The focaccia was amazing! I even took some pictures!

Fail moment?

Totally forgot to blog about it.

And dear, sweet Erica didn't want to bring up my failures, so we didn't have a post last month.

So, apologies! But this focaccia (technically, it's fugazza, the Argentinian version) deserves a post, because it's so good and so easy. Here's the recipe, so you can now make it in your own kitchens. Do it now. 


Servings: 16 slices
Preparation time: 90 minutes (including proofing)
Baking time: 20 minutes

2¾ cups (660 ml) (12-1/3 oz) (350gm) bread flour
150ml (10 tablespoons) olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (6 gm) kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (6 gm) instant dry or active dry yeast
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) warm water
1 large white onion
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (6 gm) dried oregano
grated Parmesan (optional)
thinly sliced mozzarella (optional)

If using active dry yeast: Pour the warm water (100-105° F/38-40°C) into a small bowl. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, until frothy. If using instant dry yeast: Add the yeast and the sugar with the flour.

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add 5 tablespoons (75 ml) of olive oil and mix together briefly using a spoon or the dough hook.
Add the yeast and water mixture and begin to knead. The mixture should come together as a soft, stretchy dough, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Add a bit more flour if mixture is too wet, or a bit more water if mixture seems dry or too firm. Knead for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth, soft and elastic.

Transfer the dough to a large, clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, peel, halve and slice the onion lengthwise into very thin strips. Submerge the sliced onion in a bowl of cold, salted water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain onions well and dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to hot 450°F/230°C/gas mark 8 with a rack in the middle.

Once it has risen, punch down the dough and shape into a smooth ball. Pour 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of olive oil into a large cast iron skillet or medium sized pizza pan with at least 1”/2.5cm sides. Place the ball of dough in the middle of the pan and press out gently with your fingers. Let dough relax for about 10 minutes.

Continue to press dough out into the pan, letting it relax for a few minutes each time as necessary, until dough covers the bottom of the pan. It should take 3 – 5 repetitions, depending on the size of the pan.
Sprinkle the onions over the top of the dough. Drizzle a tablespoon (15 ml) or two (30 ml) of olive oil over the onions, and sprinkle with the dried oregano, rubbing it between your fingertips while doing so to bring out the flavour.
Place the fugazza in the centre of the preheated hot oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown. If desired, remove fugazza from oven after 15 minutes and top with thin slices of mozzarella and sprinkle with grated Parmesan then return to oven and bake until the fugazza is golden brown and crispy around the edges. Brown the onions under the oven grill or broiler for the last 2 - 3 minutes of cooking, if desired. 
Remove from the oven, allow to cool enough to handle and cut into wedges or squares to serve.

For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch.

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