“IF THOU TASTEST A CRUST OF BREAD, THOU TASTEST ALL THE STARS AND ALL THE HEAVENS.” Robert Browning.
I am so happy to be a member of Twelve Loaves. This wonderful group of bakers is founded by Lora of Cake Duchess. And for novice bread bakers like me, it’s a great place to feel supported as I delve into the scary world of YEAST! Actually, not all breads include yeast. And not all of our offerings need to be bread. But for now, I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to do a little more savory baking.
Each month, Lora will give us a theme or ingredient and we will all place our creative spins on it. This month’s theme was a tribute to The Farmer’s Market. And while there are so many great choices, I wanted to bid a fond farewell to summer’s beautiful tomatoes! This light and fluffy foccacia is my Italian riff on a BLT. Though I could call it a PAT. Salty Pancetta, peppery Arugula and sweet balsamic roasted roma Tomatoes top one of the lightest, chewiest crusts of bread I have ever tasted. All the stars and the heavens indeed!
As a new bread baker, for me, foccacia is one of the easiest breads to start with.
In fact, it’s almost like topping a pizza.
But having said that, I will tell you that I adapted this foccacia recipe from one of Beth Hensperger’s foccacia recipes in The Bread Bible. No kneading is necessary. And it requires that you add warm milk to the dough. Because of this, the dough remains sticky so there is no way or need to dimple it.
Level of Difficulty: very easy, no kneading!
Yields: one 16 x 12 inch rectangular foccacia
ITALIAN BLT FOCCACIA:
- 4 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
- 1 cup of hot water ( 120°F)
- 1 cup of hot milk (120°F)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 3-4 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2-3 ounces of diced pancetta
- a handful of arugula
- olive oil and balsamic vinegar for brushing on top of the tomatoes
- freshly cracked pepper for the tomatoes
Place 2 cups of flour, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whisk these together to combine them. (If you want more flavor in your bread than on the top, you could also add a little crushed, dried basil at this time.) Add the hot water, milk, and olive oil. Blend this for a couple of minutes until everything is combined. Now add your remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time. You want to see a soft dough that just pulls away from the sides of the bowl. And it’s also going to be pretty sticky. I prefer to transfer this to another bowl to rise. So rub a little olive oil onto the bottom and sides of a large bowl. Scoop your foccacia dough into this bowl. Cover it with some plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature to rise for about 1 hour. You are looking for it to double in size.
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Tip the dough out onto the baking sheet and gently pull and shape the dough into a rectangle. Now it’s time to add the tomatoes!
Place the sliced tomatoes around the top of the dough. Brush the dough and each tomato with olive oil. Sprinkle the pancetta over the dough. Brush each tomato with a little balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little freshly cracked black pepper. Sprinkle the entire dough with a little coarse sea salt. Let it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Bake the foccacia for 15 minutes. Then reduce your oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 20-25 minutes more. You want the crust to be golden and the bread to spring back when gently pressed. Cool the bread for abut 5 minutes on the pan. And then use a spatula to help you gently remove it to a wire rack or your bread board to cool completely.
I really love the soft, light texture of this bread. Yet it holds up beautifully for dipping!
I do love to eat this while it’s still a little warm. But it’s also great at room temperature. Let me tell you how I also enjoyed this over the next several days. It was great out of the oven, smeared with a little ricotta cheese and more arugula! I enjoyed dipping it in a little flavored olive oil while sipping some wine before dinner. And one morning I cut a little square of it, warmed it in the oven, topped it with more arugula and a poached egg!
Take a look at what everyone baked! Better yet, take a trip to your local farmer’s market and come join in on the fun!
#TwelveLoaves September: Farmers Market. After a delicious Savory month of August breads, we are taking a trip to the Farmers Markets! Our September baking mission is about baking bread with something sweet or savory you find at the Farmers Market. Share your September Farmers Market Bread (yeast or quick bread). Let’s get baking!
- Ausytes – Lithuanian Onion and Bacon Buns by Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Blueberry Muffins by Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Broccoli Cornbread by Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
- Carrot Quick Bread by Holly at A Baker’s House
- Homemade Pizza with Onions, Zucchini and Green Peppers by Rossella at Ma che ti sei mangiato
- Italian BLT Focaccia by Anne at From My Sweet Heart
- Spiced Pear Pecan Bread by Renee at Magnolia Days
- Strawberry Lime Almond Danish Braid by Paula at Vintage Kitchen Notes
- Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Pissaladière by Lora at Cake Duchess
If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!
1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!
2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this September, 2013, and posted on your blog by September 30, 2013.
#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the lovely Paula from Vintage Kitchen Notes and Renee from Magnolia Days.