Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blue Cheese, Pepper, Steak & Mushroom Focaccia

I'm catching up on my Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge with Peter Reinhart's recipe for Focaccia (which you can get from his book below, starting on page 159-167). There are 2 versions of Focaccia in his book - standard and poolish (which involves a starter). For this challenge I went with the standard recipe. This time around, I didn't make individual portions or mini focaccia, but I do plan on it in the future!

Bread Baker's Apprentice

The standard recipe involves a dough made with flour, yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil and water. Once it's combined into a sticky dough, it's formed into a rectangle, stretched and folded upon itself. This recipe definitely requires patience since you must stretch and fold it upon itself 3 times every 30 minutes.

Once it's had it's third fold over, the dough is left to rest for an hour. The dough gets a nice, liberal coating of herb oil (and I stress liberal!) before it's wrapped and chilled overnight.

I could have left the focaccia as is and baked it once it came up to room temperature, but I wanted to turn this dough into a pizza. For toppings, I used a mixture of caramelized cremini mushrooms, onion, red bell pepper, crumbled blue cheese and seasoned skirt steak. It's baked in a 500 degree oven until beautifully browned.

This recipe was a lot of fun to make simply because you really got your hands in the dough. (I especially enjoyed dimpling the focaccia.) I liked how rustic it was and versatile enough to customize it with whatever toppings you want.