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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

focaccia again (WHB#91: Rosemary)

Yes, I made focaccia again – this time with rosemary. I realize that Wednesday isn’t exactly the weekend but I’m not going to let that stop me from submitting this post for

Weekend Herb Blogging #91

(click on image for larger view and more photos)
sage focaccia In the summer, focaccia is one of our staples. I make all our bread but when it’s hot outside, we really don’t want to be cranking the oven to its maximum. The house is already quite warm enough!

I made sage focaccia for Bread Baking Day #01 (read about it here) But that day, I had forgotten to allow for ample rise time that day. So this time, I preshaped the dough in plenty of time to allow for the shaped bread to rise for about three hours as described in Piano Piano Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant. I also remembered to use the smaller of our pans that does fit easily into the barbecue. (read more about the sage focaccia here).

sage focaccia The bread was light, moist and fluffy on the inside and perfectly golden and crispy on the outside. I love how the onions and rosemary get caramelized. I could have used a bit more rosemary but perhaps in this case, less is more….

Yes, this time we were completely thrilled with the results. Well, almost completely thrilled… The Australian flake salt is lovely and delicious. But it is quite delicate and got almost completely lost in the stronger tastes of the rosemary and onions. Even so, we’ll have to seek out Australian flake salt too once our little stash from the “Salts of the World” box is depleted. It would be lovely on something like poached fish.

These are the recipes I used:

(Please note that I still haven’t gotten around to revising my instructions. I NEVER oil the rising bowl! After kneading, I simply put the dough into a clean bowl, cover it and leave it on the counter to rise. I can’t say it often enough: there is absolutely NO need for oil on the bowl. When the dough has risen, it slips easily out of the bowl.

And of course, the other important addition still missing from my online recipe instructions is sprinkling the shaped bread with coursely ground salt.)

weekend herb blogging - © kalyns kitchen
This week, WHB is at on the road again, hosted by Susan (Food Blogga).

Weekend Herb Blogging #91: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

rosemary I adore rosemary. And I’ve had a devil of a time keeping rosemary alive for more than one season. But year after year, I keep trying. Even though I don’t really have enough sun in our tiny garden for herbs (I’m not complaining! The shade is wonderful when the temperature and humidity start to soar). Also, rosemary isn’t hardy in Toronto so has to be put into pots and brought indoors for the winter.

The biggest difficulty with keeping rosemary indoors is overwatering and its susceptibility to powdery mildew. The mildew can be treated with a mild solution of water and baking soda (1 Tbsp baking soda in a litre of water) but care must be taken to not allow the soil to become waterlogged.

Still rosemary is just too wonderful. I will keep trying!! Maybe this year will be my lucky year! I have it growing in three different pots this year, secretly hoping that all three plants will flourish.

Turid Forsyth and Merilyn Simonds Mohr give an great reason (as if one needs it) to grow rosemary. They wrote in The Harrowsmith Salad Garden:

[T]he effort is worth it, if for no other reason than the pleasure of running your hand over the needles [...] releasing essence of rosemary into the air.
[...]
The name rosemary comes from the Latin ros marinus, “dew from the sea”. [I]t likes full sun and well drained soil to keep it slightly arid. This herb does well in a terra cotta container [...] and it can withstand the occasional drought.
[...]
When the plant is small, refrain from excessive harvesting. [...] Rosemary [...] flowers are edible too. In the 16th century, Gerard described sugared rosemary flowers as a delicacy that “comforteth the heart and maketh it merie, quickeneth the spirits and maketh them more lively”.

Patrick Lima also loves rosemary. He wrote in The Harrowsmith Illustrated Bood of Herbs:

Winter the potted rosemary in a sunny but not overly warm place indoors; in deference to its seaside origins, give it a biweekly misting – and set it outside in good sun from mid-May to October. It withstands light frosts but must not be frozen hard.
[...]
My favourite way to use rosemary [...] is to sprinkle halved or quartered potatoes generously with rosemary leaves, eihter dried or fresh, drizzle potatoes with olive oil and roast til done.

Read more about rosemary:

If you would like to participate in WHB#91, send your link with *Weekend Herb Blogging* in the subject heading to foodblogga AT yahoo DOT com by 15:00 MDT on Sunday 15 July, 2007. To learn more about WHB and complete details on how to participate, please go to:

  1. Comment by Kalyn — 11 July 2007 @ 16:27 EDT

    I love rosemary, and it sounds wonderful on foccacia. My rosemary is doing well this year, but in the past I’ve had trouble with it. No idea why it’s better now, but I’m thankful it is.

    Can you believe that WHB is still going for 91 weeks?

  2. Comment by Susan from Food Blogga — 11 July 2007 @ 19:55 EDT

    Now, this is what I call perfect timing–my mom is visiting me, and yesterday while flipping through cookbooks at Borders, we got into this whole discussion about the differences between cooking pizza and focaccia. I just printed your recipe, and we’re going to try it. I think adding enough olive oil in the pan and the 45 minute rising time are both key. We’ve made focaccia many times but like it really thick, and this sounds like it be the THE one! :) Thanks for a great WHB entry!

  3. Comment by ejm — 12 July 2007 @ 00:07 EDT

    I’m really glad that you’re going to try our version of focaccia, Susan. Do let me know how it turns out.

    But a word of caution if you want the focaccia to be really thick. 45 minutes rising time isn’t long enough. Use this revised version of the recipe (adding rosemary to the onions, of course – it’s best to use the ingredients list from our first focaccia recipe):

    The pre-shaping, allowing to rest half an hour covered with a tea towel and then finishing the shaping and allowing the bread to rise UNcovered for about 3 hours on the counter is what really does the trick. Spray the rising dough with a little water if it seems like it’s drying out.

    By the way, in her book “Piano Piano Pieno”, Susan McKenna Grant suggests using white wine instead of water to drizzle with the olive oil overtop. (We rarely have white wine so I’ve not tried this but it sounds like a fun idea.)

    ~~~~~~~~

    It IS remarkable that WHB is well into its second year, Kalyn! Well done. I’m so glad that you have kept it going. It’s a great resource.

    Glad to hear your rosemary is doing well and hope it continues to flourish.

  4. Comment by Nora B — 16 July 2007 @ 08:19 EDT

    This focaccia looks great and thanks for the clear instructions. It’s been a while since I made my own, and your post has prompted me to make one very soon – thank you!

  5. Comment by ejm — 16 July 2007 @ 17:53 EDT

    Thank you, Nora! I’m glad the instructions are decipherable. Do let me know how your focaccia turns out. I’ll be interested to hear if you bake it in the oven or the barbecue too.

  6. Pingback by The 91st Weekend Herb Blogging Round-Up is Here! | Food Blogga — 15 July 2007 @ 02:17 EDT

    [...] Elizabeth of Blog from OUR Kitchen offers a mouth-watering Focaccia with Rosemary and Onions. I’m warning you: don’t go to her site if you’re starving. If you choose to ignore my warning, then expect to run to the market for yeast, rosemary, and onions, because you’ll be making Elizabeth’s focaccia for dinner. She kindly offers us detailed yet easy-to-follow instructions for both thinner and thicker focaccias. I personally think the thicker the better, but head over to Elizabeth’s to decide for yourself. [...]

 

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