For the most part, I’ve been slunking around, trying to exert as little energy as possible so as not to require much cooling down. But for some reason, the last couple of days have really inspired me and I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen again–despite warnings of a heat index of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. I. Am. Insane.
For the right recipe, it’s worth turning your kitchen into a sauna.
My fascination with bread continues… The best part about baking bread in the summer is that you don’t have to find a nice warm spot where you can coax your dough into cooperation while battling below-freezing temps from invading your home. Just throw it on the counter and you’re guaranteed that the yeast will do what it’s supposed to. Well, as long as your yeast is alive. If you’re new to baking with yeast, this is the best time of year to try it.
This recipe adaptation comes from Betty Crocker’s Best Bread Machine Cookbook: The Goodness of Homemade Bread the Easy Way, which has been a great resource for me over the past few years. I mostly use my bread machine for the dough cycle now (yay for not having to work up a sweat kneading dough in the summer heat!), but you can adapt just about anything in it to traditional methods. To make it without the bread machine, add the yeast to the water and sugar and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy (this will also tell you that your yeast is alive, by the way). Mix the dough ingredients together and knead it by hand on a well-floured surface for 10 minutes (or by stand mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes). Cover, let it rest for 1.5-2 hours, or until doubled in size, and proceed as indicated. There’s nothing to be afraid of here.
With the month drawing to a close, I realized I still hadn’t submitted anything for #Goaterie yet. #Goaterie brings together those adventurous food bloggers (or people who just like to cook) who want to try cooking and baking with goat and goat products. Goat: the meat of the future. I’m not ready to work with goat meat yet, but goat cheese–that, I can handle. So here’s my contribution to #Goaterie: Chèvre, Caramelized Onion, & Rosemary Focaccia with Cinnamon Basil Crust. Be sure to check them out for other ideas on how to use goat, goat cheese, and goat milk. You won’t be sorry!
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cinnamon basil (you can sub sweet basil or 1-2 tsp dried basil)
- 1 tsp turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups bread or all purpose flour (I used all purpose, but the original called for bread flour)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp bread machine or quick active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium Vidalia onions, sliced in thin strips
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- 4 oz Chèvre, crumbled
- Add the first 8 ingredients to your bread machine according to manufacturer’s directions (in my case, that means all wet ingredients first, then dry–or, exactly in the order I wrote them). Select the dough cycle. Watch during the first 5 minutes to make sure the dough isn’t too wet (slopping around in the pan) or too dry (won’t come together) and add water or flour, a Tablespoon at a time, until it gathers into a nice ball. (Try not to add if you don’t have to as changing the ratio of ingredients can affect how well the focaccia turns out–or if it turns out at all.)
- During the last 15-20 minutes of the dough cycle, heat the 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan (cast iron works great!) and cook your onions and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The browner you let them get, the sweeter they will be. Set aside to cool slightly.
- At the end of the dough cycle, remove the dough from the machine and punch it down. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two pizza pans and set aside (I use my Pampered Chef stoneware, which requires no preparation since they’re well-seasoned.)
- Cut the dough ball in half with a sharp knife. Spread each half on a pizza pan with your hands til you have an 11″ or so circle. With your fingertips, make indentations all over the surface. Spread the onion filling on top, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.
- Uncover and sprinkle crumbled Chèvre over the tops of the focaccias.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
- Remove to wire racks to cool slightly.