Baking with Julia – Foccacia vs. Focaccia

IMG_0132Does anyone else always want to spell this focaccia? I feel like that looks more right to me? Either way, it’s kind of a weird word to spell. (ETA: I just looked in the book and the book says Focaccia so I’m satisfied to know that my instincts are correct and that I am just lazy and went by what the internet told me instead of looking it up in a good ol’ book. Let’s heave a big depressed sigh for my generation). Earlier when we made the French version of this bread for French Fridays with Dorie, my husband pronounced it Fo-cachacha and now I always think of that when I see it and can’t stop laughing.

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I’m just going to come right out and say that I had higher hopes for this bread. I suggested it for this month and was really pleased when it got picked but when it came right down to it, I was kind of disappointed. I think I had the texture of ciabatta in my mind for some reason, so when this was more of a flatbread I got kind of frustrated. But that’s not the recipe’s fault, that’s mine. So let’s quit talking about what I wanted this bread to be and start talking about what it really is. And what it is is kind of a huge time investment. This puppy needed 24-36 hours of rest time in the fridge so it was definitely delayed gratification. I did take one out after about 18 hours and bake it to go with a dinner I was making for the neighbors and it was good, but didn’t have as much flavor as the ones I left in the fridge for the full rise. It looked like this before the bake:

IMG_0122Obviously it had done some rising in the fridge, but it didn’t have those bubbles all over the surface like the book described. It did poof out some gas when I smooshed it though, so that was kind of fun.

IMG_0124This recipe allowed me to use so many of the great kitchen gifts I’ve received from my family: grignette from my mom, baking stone from Tristan, bread-rising bowl from dad, and this pizza peel from Mary. I also tried to use my Kitchenaid Artisan from Tristan to mix the dough but if anyone read the P & Q’s section for this recipe on Tuesdays with Dorie, you know that that didn’t work out so hot. Apparently I am going to have to explore the idea of getting a big sister for Candy the mixer and I’m kind of not best-pleased about it. Our Kitchenaid rep was great but I did not like the answers she gave me about what Candy can and can’t do.

The other two dough balls came to work with me the next day and got baked there on my makeshift baking stone made of quarry tiles. They definitely had little bubbles all over the top like the book describes:

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Alas, these both got a little thin in some places so they got unattractive dark spots in the middle. Boo.

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The outer edges were tasty though for sure and definitely had the right texture on the inside as well.

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This bread was a science-y type kitchen experiment that is fun for me once, but not something I think I want to repeat. There are other breads that I like more that take less futz. If you want to give it a go, you can find the recipe on Sharmini’s blog Wandering Through.

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13 thoughts on “Baking with Julia – Foccacia vs. Focaccia

  1. I really do think focaccia should be a little softer and a little puffier than what this recipe produced. It was okay, but nothing I’d want to make again. Good effort though! It certainly looks tasty!

  2. Such a lovely post! Your focaccia turned out nicely. I’m with you on the fussiness of this recipe…I get better results with less effort on a different one. I think the fridge time detracted from this recipe with no notable benefits.

  3. The crumb on your inside does look perfect. (I constantly have to correct where I place the “CC” when I spell this one out – I agree, it just doesn’t look right!)
    I am sure it was very tasty.

  4. Interesting to see the difference in the properly rested dough. Maybe I would have liked it better if I had not been in such a hurry. Sorry to hear about your mixer woes. I am thinking about upgrading myself to the 7 quart because I think the 6 quart might be making me deaf.

  5. Bah, I mis-spelt in my post, d’oh. I got quite fluffy bread when I deviated from (I.e. forgot) the instructions about slashing and spreading out the dough. Maybe not-quite following this recipe is the way to go?

  6. That is the way I spell it!! Even did it in my post! Yep. And no doubt will continue to spell it that way. hee hee. I blame the slashing on the flatter bread. Next time I’m only going to dimple…..and there probably isn’t going to be a next time for this one, too many other foccacia recipes to try. Nope, that did not feel right spelling it that way. :o)

  7. I learned two new words from your post – Fo-cachacha and grignette :) Love the final result of your sciencey experiment! We should have negotiated some kind of deal with KA last year – we are doing so much testing of their mixers :) Let me just say that I developed a special relationship with my KA for this bread – a lot of holding, hugging, and counter top dancing…

  8. It’s not spelled “focaccia”? I googled it your way and it keeps correcting me. So much for dictionary.com and the book itself! Hope you have better success with the next recipe. :)

    • Hahaha I was going by the Tuesdays with Dorie post – they spelled it foccacia but now that I look in the book, it’s focaccia. Whatever. I’m too lazy to go back and change it. I’m sticking with fo-cachacha! :)

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