Sage Focaccia (BBD#01)

Bread Baking Day #01

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

sage focaccia Because she loves bread, Zorra (Kochtopf) has started a new monthly event, “Bread Baking Day”. She loves herbs too so the first theme is “herbs”.

Initially, I blanched. Don’t get me wrong. I love bread and herbs too. But generally, I prefer that the bread be made with just flour, water, yeast and salt. With maybe some olive oil and perhaps some milk and sugar or honey. And any herbs are strictly for garnish or cooked into an accompanying dish.

Okay okay, you’re right. I also like to put caraway or fennel seeds or cinnamon into some of the bread I make. And perhaps a few raisins. But cinnamon, raisins, caraway and fennel seeds aren’t herbs. But I definitely wanted to participate in the event. What to do… what to do…

And one warm day not long ago, the answer presented itself. Focaccia.

Of course!! Focaccia with herbs on top is perfectly acceptable! Not just acceptable, but it would be delicious! Exactly the thing to have with a grilled chop and steamed green beans.

At first I thought I’d use rosemary. But then as I was out surveying the estate (*cough*), the sage beckoned to me. Its pungent scent was pervasive as I brushed a few leaves. Suddenly I neeeeded to try sage on focaccia.

Which I did, garnishing the shaped dough with fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced onion, water, extra virgin olive oil and “Palm Island gourmet red gold” salt.

I haven’t yet made focaccia often enough using the final steps in shaping described in Piano Piano Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant. They call for a rising time of about 3 hours after shaping! (read more here) But the day that I made this sage focaccia, not only was it a coolish day but I didn’t shape the focaccia until 6:00 pm. Oh oh….

And I forgot that the larger of our pans doesn’t fit easily into the barbecue. Oh oh….

And we were so worried about burning the focaccia on the bottom that we turned the heat down too low on the barbecue. Oh oh….

Needless to say, I was a little concerned.

sage focaccia

Even after the bread appeared to be done (taking much longer to bake than we anticipated). Even after hearing lovely crisp sounds as the pizza wheel whizzed through the baked bread. In fact, even as I was crankily taking this photograph of the finished bread. Yet in the back of what was left of my mind, I couldn’t help thinking that it looked pretty good. Smelled pretty good too.

And son of a gun! It was pretty good… no, not “pretty good”; it was really good!

The only vague disappointment was the sage. The leaves were lovely and crisp but they lost their wild saginess almost completely. The onions completely overpowered their now delicate flavour.

But the red gold salt was fabulous. It not only looks beautiful but there is a sweetness that marries wonderfully with its saltiness. We’ll have to seek it out once our little stash from the “Salts of the World” box is depleted.

These are the recipes I used:

(Please note that I no longer oil the rising bowl – I really should revise those instructions! After kneading, I simply put the dough into a clean bowl, cover it and leave it on the counter to rise. There is absolutely NO need for oil on the bowl. When the dough has risen, it slips easily out of the bowl.

The other important addition is sprinkling the shaped bread with coursely ground salt.)

Bread Baking Day (BBD) #01

breadbakingday #01 - bread with herbs

Bread Baking Day (BBD) is a new event begun by Zorra (Kochtopf), who hosted World Bread Day last year.

She wrote:

I don’t just love breads, I also like herbs. So I suggest as theme for the first breadbakingday: bread with herbs.

Go to your garden or balcony and harvest your favorite herb. If you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can also use dried ones.

Use yeast, sourdough and any flour you like, but don’t forget to add the herb(s).

The deadline for BBD#01 is Sunday, 1 July 2007. For complete details on how to participate in this event, please go to:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

edit 5 July 2007:
Zorra has now posted the round up for bbd#01. Take a look; there are 31 wonderful looking entries!

I just realized that I could have made saffron buns!! (Or is saffron considered to be a spice rather than an herb?)

This entry was posted in baking, BBD, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, crossblogging, food & drink, side on by .

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  • I love focaccia and yours looks delicious! In fact I wanted to present a similar recipe but not the same. ;-)
    I don’t know about saffron. I need to figure out.
    Thank you for participating in bbd #01!

  • ejm

    Thank you, it was quite delicious, Zorra.

    And it was my pleasure to participate; thank you for hosting bbd!

  • Paz

    Uggh! I was planning on participating in Zorra’s event but totally lost track of time till I read your post. Maybe I still have time to participate. In the meantime, your focaccia looks awesome. I know someone else who just made some, too. I’m going to place it on my list of breads to make. Yum!

    Paz

  • ejm

    You really must make it soon, Paz! Even if it isn’t for Zorra’s BBD#01 (And don’t forget that there’s always BBD#02…)

    Focaccia really is one of the most satisfying breads to bake. Very easy and it’s quite forgiving too – you can let it rise a short time or a long time and it will still turn out wonderfully.

  • Paz

    Thanks, Elizabeth. I will definitely plan to make it (and be more prepared for BBD#2. ;-)

    Paz

  • I need, (knead…) to make some more bread. I find foccacia to be a great summertime appetizer using lots of fresh herbs.
    About the Ice-Man: he has a bowl that you freeze and it works quite nicely, although if I had of been willing to splurge, I would have gone with the built in refrigeration unit. That being said, I’ve churned an ice cream for over half an hour without the container getting too warm, so depending on the amount of ice cream you plan on making, the freezer bowl model would most likely suit you just fine.

  • ejm

    I’ve never thought of serving focaccia as an appetizer – good idea, Brilynn. We usually serve it with the main course in place of potatoes. It’s particularly good with barbecued chicken… and the sandwiches the next day made with leftover chicken and focaccia are fabulous.

    Many thanks for your thoughts about the Ice-Man.

  • This looks gorgeous and sounds just wonderful. Definitely going on my list. Thanks!

  • ejm

    Thank you, Susan. It is really good. And it’s even better when it is allowed to rise fully as it did when I made it a few days later (described here)

  • ejm

    It is a bit confusing, isn’t it, Daniel. But please go to

    http://etherwork.net/recipes/flatbread.html#focaccia

    I revised our recipe and it should be a little less tricky to undestand (I hope.)