by A.J. Coltrane
Making rustic breads is easy. Focaccia is even easier. The recent-high-school-graduate niece made the loaf below, with very little coaching.
This became one of two caprese sandwiches for GNOIF. (She made both breads.) Both of the breads were devoured in no time.
The ingredients are essentially the same as for the No Knead Bread, with extra-virgin olive oil added to the mix — 400 grams AP Flour, 300 grams water, 8 grams kosher salt, 1/4 tsp instant yeast, and 1-1/2 TBP olive oil. (75% hydration and 2% salt by weight. Most of the time I use the scale if it’s baking related. It’s just as fast as measuring cups and the results are way more consistent.)
Everything gets combined in the Kitchenaid and mixed on low speed with the paddle attachment for 8 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap for 18-24 hours. The next day, line a sheet tray with parchment paper and add a light coat of extra virgin olive oil, about 1-2 tablespoons. Scrape the dough out onto the parchment and spread it out to near the corners of the tray. (It doesn’t have to be perfect, the dough will fix itself.) Let rise 1-1/2 to 2 hours until poofy. When the dough is almost ready to go, preheat the oven to 425 F. Spread about 2 tablespoons of oil over the top of the dough and dimple the top with your fingers. (Oiled fingers help keep the dough from sticking as much.) Place the tray in the oven and bake 22-25 minutes. Let cool in the tray.
We sliced this loaf width-wise. Both sides were lightly coated with basil pesto. (Yay Earthbox basil!) We splurged on heirloom tomatoes, which were “drained” and thinly sliced and chopped. The sandwich was finished with fresh mozzarella that had been thinly sliced and squished between paper towels until most of the moisture was pressed out.
Easy! I’m sure that one out of one nieces would agree.