December 4, 2007

Foccacia with Rosemary, Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins

This is, hands down, my favorite bread on earth. After watching Tom make it, I am sure I can do it myself- and will do it during this holiday season.

2 Packets of rapid rise yeast
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

Mix that up. Add 2 cups of hot tap water (approx. 125 degrees).

4 Tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 teaspoons dried rosemary (minced fine). A secret to doing that without it flying everywhere is to pour some olive oil over it and chop. See Tom chop.

1/2 of a 15 ounce box of golden raisins. Mix everything up together using flat beater. Start adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until it forms a slack bread dough (a little stickier in consistency than dough). After it's combined, switch to dough hook. If the dough sticks to your hand, you need more flour. Knead on dough hook for 8-10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until it doubles in size. In a 75 degree room, it should take approximately 35 minutes.

Punch it down to deflate it. See Tom punch.

Let it rise and punch it down three (3) more times. Oil your fingers and the spread the dough out in a bake pan.

Take a handful of roasted pine nuts (350 degrees for 8 mins.), sprinkle them on top of the dough, pressing them in a bit as you go. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise one more time to double in size.

Make indentations with your fingers in the top of the dough. See Tom indent!

Bake in 425 degree oven (middle rack). Turn 1/2 way after 12 minutes. Let it bake for another 12 minutes and when its internal temperature is 205 degrees, it is done. Tom used a thermometer with a long stem, and put it halfway into the bread at a 45 degree angle. Another way to tell if it is done is when there is light browning on top.

This foccacia is so savory because of the combination of the rosemary and olive oil. I especially like it because the rosemary is minced so finely that there are no large chunks of it. It simply flavors the dough instead of overpowering it. When combined with the golden raisins and pine nuts, there's really nothing like it. Slice it, and when you are ready to serve it, pop it into a 350 degree oven for 4-6 minutes to crisp up the outside.

Sure, baking your own bread is more labor intensive than buying it, but when baking it for a group of close friends or family members, it is a labor of love. Isn't that what this time of year is all about...and the eggs.

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