October 13, 2011

Focaccia Bread

For the last four months I have been eating away a gall stone. Well, not exactly eating it away but by changing my diet and supplementing a few choice herbs I should be gall stone free in about 1 year. So in a way I am eating it away. I can not eat any dairy products, or animal fat. I am not allowed eggs or other foods which are high in cholesterol. So that would include shrimp even though it does not really bother me with symptoms. I have trouble with blood sugar balance before the gall stone I already avoided processed sugar and stayed mainly with natural sugars like raw honey, date syrup, and agave nectar. So my diet has dwindled down to grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish and some other sea foods, and that is about it. I can have coconut milk, coconut oil and olive too.

So with those ingredients I have been finding I have fewer choices sure, but the lack of choices pushes me to discover new foods and ways of cooking I have not yet tried. After all, the saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention" implies limitations and deprivation in one way or another. I happen to love invention so I am not suffering on this new adjustment but I am working a little harder to get myself fed while I continue to feed the men in my house all the yummy things I can not yet eat. One thing I dearly love and have missed is pizza. My mom taught me how to make pizza, gave me a great recipe for sauce and I love to make it myself at home...my men love it too. But if you were reading above you will already know cheese is off my list, and so are meats which are integral to a fantastic pizza. necessity...my longing for pizza drove me to discover how to make focaccia bread, writing about it today forced me to learn how to spell it. :)

I brought out my copy of Martha Stewarts Baking handbook and tried her recipe. It was fabulous. I am now NOT missing pizza for this focaccia bread with a few sautéed veggies on top had filled the niche. Here is how it is made in case you want to try it too.

You start with mixing the flour (about 7 cups) and the water (3 1/2 cups), and only 1 t of yeast. No salt yet. This little concoction will need to set in a warm place until it has tripled in size and it will become a bit sticky. It should look like this:

Once it has tripled and become sticky you add the 2T of salt. I know that sounds like a lot but it wasn't overpowering in the end result. If you use sea salt you can do your body a big favor too and get all the minerals and goodies the white salt has taken out of it. This mixing should take place in an upright mixer, but I don't have one so I simply worked on making more muscles in my arm and whipped it around with a sturdy wooden spoon until all the salt was well mixed in. It is quite wet at this point and you want to add more flour but resist the urge and just keep your hands floured as you gently work the dough pulling up first one third and then another third folding the thirds into the middle. Then return the dough to the bowl and let rise until doubled. after it has doubled do the folding one more time, let double again and then you can proceed.

While you are waiting on the dough to rise (one doubling usually takes 1 hour) you can sauté a few choice veggies to put on the top. I chose to sautéed a yellow onion, a small eggplant, 2 small tomatoes, and 7 cloves of garlic. Sauté the veggies you have sliced or diced in olive oil and salt them and season them. I added a pizza spice mix I buy at Winco. Cook the veggies until they are soft and slightly brown. Then set aside until the dough is done rising.

By this time the dough should be taking on a fun bubbly kind of light texture. Then in a baking sheet or pan with sides add 1/2 cup of olive oil. Place your dough into the pan and press it to the edges. The dough should be not sticky at this pint but it will feel soft and spongy. Once the dough is pressed tot he side it will look something like this:

Add the sautéed veggies to the top and another 1/4 of olive drizzled over the veggies. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes to half and hour. Here is mine already for the oven.

The varity of focaccias that you can concot is endless just as it is with the pizza. Why not try a dried fruit focaccia with cinnamon and rapadura sugar on top. For the men in my house I am going to try to make a real pizza with the foccaia crust next time around. I am sorry I have no picture of the finished product it was eaten up so fast I never thought to take out my camera to get a good shot of it. Try it your self and see what a wonderful alternative it can be to the cheese and meat pizza.

No comments:

Post a Comment