Stuffed focaccia

It’s Friday and I have not baked at all this week. I heard about it at work. A dramatic “Did anyone bake?” was called out and I had to explain that I meant to brave a pudding but alas had no ramekins and alas the store didn’t have enough either.

It was a double alas situation.

So here I am. A week without a bake and wondering what to make for dinner.

What to do, what to do.

I’m trying to create a bit of a story here. Last night I thought I’d make the stuffed focaccia tonight but then this morning I decided I wouldn’t bother but then this afternoon I got home from work after having eaten only a salad and an apple all day and since healthy eating makes me really hungry, the idea of an entire stuffed focaccia all to myself seemed pretty great.

Off to the grocery store I went to get the stuffings.

The recipe calls for salami OR ham OR prosciutto (yes the ORs are capitalized) and pecorino. Full disclosure: I’m not entirely certain what pecorino is and my local grocery store has more of the cheddars and havartis to choose from. Since I am the one eating this, I decided to go with what I know is good: sun-dried tomato havarti. On sale. And some Hungarian salami. Still not entirely sure what makes it different from, say, Genoa salami, but that’s okay.

Back home I went, ready to make dinner and by “make dinner” I mean make the bread dough and let it rise, hoping my hunger pangs will be okay to wait a little longer.

Now here’s the thing: I could make an entire stuffed focaccia just for myself but I started to wonder if that would be biting off more than I could chew, in a rather literal sense. So I’m deciding to half the recipe so I don’t OD on focaccia.

Halving the recipe is just fine, but it does make it a little difficult when my grams on the scale don’t show decimals. So I possibly put half a gram too much yeast in this and half a gram too much sea salt. Better than double the yeast like that one time, though.

I also may have put too much rosemary in because I went with dried and decided to eyeball it, but I’m sure it’s fine.

Time for oil and water:

And now time to undo the stress of the workweek through a 10-minute kneading session:

*10 minutes later*

It really is quite relaxing. I tried a new technique I heard about where you slam the dough onto your work surface. It’s a trick developed by some French chef I can’t remember the name of recommended to me by a German co-worker. So this is a rather international bake, if you think about it.

As I wait for this thing to rise, I would just like to add that I made a list of all the recipes in this book (114, by the way) and looked at each of the six sections: biscuits and traybakes, breads, cakes, sweet pastry and patisserie, savoury bakes, and puddings and desserts. Of those categories, I have not done anything from savoury bakes nor have I done anything from puddings and desserts. That’s why I was all keen to do either a pudding this week (alas that didn’t work) or a savoury bake. Last night when I decided that I’d do the focaccia tonight, I could have sworn it was a savoury bake. It’s not. I mean technically it is, but I guess it’s more of a bread than a savoury bake. Moral of the story is my next two bakes need to come from the two untouched categories. Goals within goals.

*Almost one hour later*

I’m getting hungry and this thing has to rise another 45 minutes. I think it’s doubled in size enough:

And then I forgot to punch down the dough. (Oops!) I did, however, cut it in half, patted it out and put it into a “baking tin.” I put “baking tin” in “quotation marks” because my “tin” is more of a “dish.” But I don’t have a tin that is the sufficient size, even for half the amount, so here we are.

And I layered everything (eating as I layered, of course), and left the required border around the edge:

Then I covered it with the other half of the dough, pinched the seams, pushed the air out and poked air holes in the top:

Now to wait another 45 minutes.

Getting. So. Hungry.

*Almost 45 minutes later*

Brush with oil and pop into preheated oven. Done!

*about 12 minutes later*

I’m suddenly worrying the glass container is a huge mistake. I really need to go shopping for baking dishes and tins and ramekins and such. This is getting ridiculous.

*about 8 minutes later*

It’s looking almost done but I’m nervous about a raw dough.

On the other hand, the glass dish helps with checking the brownness of the bottom of the loaf.

*almost 2 minutes later*

Dang this looks good:

And dang this looks good:

UPDATE: Ah-may-zing.

Although I can see why a hard cheese like pecorino would be preferable to a creamier cheese like havarti because it does soak into the bread a bit. But otherwise, this thing is disappearing quickly and I can’t keep typing. Gotta keep eating.

‘Til next time!

P.S. I definitely ate the (almost) whole thing.

I regret trying to eat that last piece. So much for a gluten-light diet.

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