Thursday, December 10, 2009

BBA Challenge: Focaccia

I'm finally feeling back in the swing of things with the BBA Challenge. I had an English Muffin flop a couple of months ago that put me into a bread baking slump. But after my second - and very successful - attempt, I'm happy to say that I'm back in the bread baking groove.

Actually, I made the focaccia several months ago when I had some leftover poolish that I needed to use up. The last two pictures are of my first batch. With that focaccia, I used all unbleached white flour, and topped the bread with basil oil. It was so long ago I honestly don't remember many fine details of it, but I do remember loving it. We made lots of sandwiches with it and it was gone in about 1 1/2 days.

I didn't have any poolish around this time, so I thought I'd give the non-poolish version a shot. I also wanted to use part whole wheat flour - I used 2 cups whole wheat and 3 cups unbleached white.

Once you've had homemade focaccia, store-bought - even bakery-bought in many cases - is basically inedible. This is delicate and tender and flavorful, as opposed to tough and dry and bland.

I can't say that I have a preference one way or the other between the two versions I made. I loved them both. I will say that the non-poolish version doesn't require a preferment, so you don't have to plan ahead when you decide to make it. It does require an overnight rest in the fridge, however, so you will still have to wait a day before enjoying this delightful yeasted creation.

The recipe for this focaccia can be found in The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. If you don't already have this book you should put it on your holiday wish-list, because it is amazing.


  1. Both of your focaccia versions look yummy! I add whole grain flour to just about anything and I'll bet it was delicious in this bread. I made a tiny partial batch and immediately regretted that once I tasted my first bite. This is good stuff indeed, and your loaves are perfect.

  2. Mmm, that looks really good! I want to finally get this one done this weekend. I had some sort of slump after the English muffins, too, but all the baking I've been doing in the past week or two seems to be helping me get back in the groove.

  3. That looks fantastic! I was planning to make rolls this weekend, but now focaccia sounds like a good idea.

  4. I like focaccia so much! I always make sure I have lots of it before the week ends! I like to enjoy it during weekends when I am not busy.

  5. It was a WONDERFUL bread, wasn't it. I still have some in the freezer and it calls my name daily.

    Glad this one worked out for you. Sorry about the EM, but they aren't nearly as easy as this bread was.


  6. I've never had homemade focaccia but I really, really want some - both of your versions look wonderful :) I tried to make it once and failed miserably so I haven't tried again. It might be time for me to make another attempt.

  7. How fun to get to see two different versions with the different flours and methods. Both of them look very nice and exciting. I am really wanting, however, to taste the darker colored one as the flavor looks intriguing to me. Great job. They both look wonderful.


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