Monday, October 19, 2009

When Life Gives You Tomatoes...

... make Tomato Focaccia!

Wow, what a fun but exhausting weekend! Thursday and Friday I baked 5 Pumpkin cakes and 10 pans of fresh tomato focaccia for an event at Tierra Miguel farm. Unfortunately my oven malfunctioned on Friday just as I was getting ready to bake and I had to relocate to my friend's kitchen. Somehow, I managed to get it all done and make it to the event. Both items came out beautifully and were a big hit!

My focaccia dough is a simple and versatile dough. In addition to focaccia, you can it for pizza, stuff small pieces of it with mozzarella and sundried tomatoes or pesto and fried it in olive oil or even make it into loaves. The generous amount of olive oil gives it a wonderful flavor.

Fresh Tomato-Olive Oil Focaccia
1 1/3 cups luke warm water
1 (1/4 oz) package dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra for the pan and for topping
4–4 1/4 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 tablespoon sea salt plus extra for topping
2–3 fresh, ripe tomatoes, sliced and seeded

In a large bowl, whisk together water, yeast and sugar. Allow to proof (3-5 minutes). Add oil and mix well. Add 1 cup of the flour and the salt and mix until smooth. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead, adding as little flour as necessary, until it comes together and is satiny and elastic (bout 5 minutes). The dough should be moist, but not sticky or wet. It should not stick to a clean finger.

Place the dough in a large, clean, unoiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Let rise in a warm non-drafty place until doubles in size (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch down. Rub a thin coat of olive oil onto a rectangular baking sheet and stretch the dough out onto the sheet. Make dimples in the dough with your fingers and rub top with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the top with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle evenly with sea salt. Bake in a 375º oven for about 30-35 minutes.

Unfortunately in all the madness, I didn't get any pictures of the finished focaccia. You'll have to give it a try and see for yourself. Pumpkin cake recipe (and more) to come, so stay tuned.

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