August 06, 2005

Okay, folks, we're trying this again. This will teach you a lesson about composing in your "new post" window instead of your paste buffer. By the time you realize that your connection is kerflooey, it is too late to copy and paste to the buffer. Buffer to blogging client, never the other way around.

As I mentioned before, I made this in the KitchenAid, but it will still work if you mix by hand. You may want to knead for an extra two minutes or so, but otherwise, just substitute "wooden spoon" for "paddle" and "your own two lovely hands" for "dough hook."

Pour the risen sponge into the mixing bowl. Be sure to ooh and ahh over the fragrance, the network of bubbles, the stringy, springy gluten.

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Add the water, olive oil, wine and salt to the bowl. Mix on low speed until the sponge is broken up and the liquids are milky and foamy. (You may want to start this with your hands, and then switch to the paddle.)

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Add the flour in three increments. (If you add it all at once, the mixer will kick it back up into your face and all over the counter. Go ahead, ask me how I know this. smile Mix until flour is completely blended in. The dough will be sticky and jagged.

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Switch to the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes on slow speed. The dough will initially clean the bowl, then will start to stick a bit, in long sticky strands. Don't panic. This is what it's supposed to do. When it is done, the general texture will be all smoothed out but the surface will be a bit broken, looking almost like curdled milk. Again, do not worry; it will smooth out on fermentation.

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Pour about 2 tablespoons oil into a large bowl. Turn the dough into the bowl, then turn to coat the dough with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it to ferment until it is about 2 1/2 times its original size. This will take at least 90 minutes, up to about 2 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity level of your kitchen.

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Believe it or not, that was the hardest part. Everything from here on in is a doddle. smile

Posted by Bakerina at 03:28 PM in Blogathon 2005! Woohooooo! • (1) Comments • (0) Trackbacks

Hi, everyone,

This is a "technical difficulties" post.  I lost connectivity while TypePad was publishing the focaccia directions and I lost the whole thing.  I'll try to get it back up asap.  I'm still here, though.  Stay tuned.

Posted by Bakerina at 03:04 PM in Blogathon 2005! Woohooooo! • (0) Comments • (0) Trackbacks

Okay, now we're ready to go.  Again, I've mixed this in the KitchenAid, but you can do it by hand; just replace the paddle with a wooden spoon or a dough whisk if you have one, and replace the dough hook with your own two hands.  You may need to knead it for an extra two minutes, but really, it will all come out.

Take your sponge and pour it into a mixer bowl.  Ooo and ahh over the sharp tangy smell, the network of bubbles, the stretchy, stretchy gluten.

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Once it's in the bowl, add the water, wine and salt.  Mix until the sponge is broken up and the liquid is milky.  (It's easiest to start this with your hands, then let the paddle take over.

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Add the flour in three increments (if you add it all at once, you run the risk of the mixer kicking flour back up into your face.  Mix until flour is completely incorporated.

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Switch to the dough hook and knead on slow speed for 6 minutes.  Initially the dough will clean the bowl, then it will begin to stick a bit.  Don't worry, it's supposed to.  When the dough is done, it will be soft and a little sticky.  If it's very sticky, add more flour, but keep a light hand:  this is supposed to be a soft, wet dough.  When it's done, the dough will be smooth but the surface will look broken; again, this is okay.  It will smooth out during fermentation.

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Pour a couple tablespoons of oil into a large bowl.  Turn the dough into the oiled bowl and turn it over until the surface is covered with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave to ferment until about 2 - 2 1/2 times its original size.  This will take at least 90 minutes, although I usually give it two hours.

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The hardest part is over.  From here on in, it's a doddle.

Posted by Bakerina at 02:58 PM in Blogathon 2005! Woohooooo! • (0) Comments • (0) Trackbacks

Dear friends,

30 minutes from now, once I'm done typing, I will show you how to get from here:

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to here:

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Posted by Bakerina at 02:30 PM in Blogathon 2005! Woohooooo! • (0) Comments • (0) Trackbacks

You will need:  the sponge, 1/2 cup tepid water, 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (yes, you want extra virgin, but no, you don't need some rarefied boutique oil -- I use a cheap extra virgin olive oil from Crete that is bright green and peppery and tastes like a million bucks), 1/3 cup white wine (again, you don't need a fancy bottle of Sancerre, but you do want something drinkable, as you will taste the wine in the finished bread; I buy those big bottles of white table wine; I like Fossi Bianco, but if you can't find it, nearly every wine store, including state stores, carry Yellowtail Chardonnay and that will be just fine here), 1 tablespoon kosher salt (you can use sea salt but you might have to reduce it a little bit, depending on how strong it is, but please, no Morton's, not ever, no matter what Marion Cunningham says), and 360 g unbleached all-purpose flour (which works out to 2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups).

If you have a KitchenAid or Kenwood or Magic Mill mixer, this will be much easier to make, but if you don't have one, do not despair!  You can still knead this by hand and it will still be lovely.  Just keep your counter well floured and oil your hands from time to time.  I have done it, and the resulting bread was light and gorgeous.  It's easy.  It's just that the mixer makes it really, really easy, rivalling just about everything except instant pudding in ease of preparation.

Incidentally, the sponge, she is done, and will be shown off in all her glory, along with all the other photos and instructions.  (insert Bugs Bunny voice)  Now, don't go away!

Posted by Bakerina at 01:55 PM in Blogathon 2005! Woohooooo! • (0) Comments • (0) Trackbacks
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