Saturday, July 5, 2008

Let there be bread - Focaccia!

I guess a lot of us must have heard about this group of bloggers called 'Daring Bakers'. These folks bring to us exquisite baked goods that we believe exist only in fancy shops or delicatessen! They actually surpass them at times...

Apart from tasting amazing, they appear so surreal, like this form of art that has been so meticulously crafted out of mundane materials like flour, sugar, yeast and fruits. And they make it look so simple by doing it time after time after time again!

Well, we'd call ourselves "Barely Bakers" :) because we've tried our hands on the most basic breads a few times but haven't met with success unfortunately. Sometimes, the dough wasn't cooked all the way, sometimes the crust was too hard to be bit into, sometimes the temperature was too darn high and this one time the dough refused to rise! This prompted me to get in touch with a couple of such daring bakers and pick their brains a little bit. Deeba and Rosa, thank you so much for not letting the 'baking spirit' inside me perish for good :) After this endeavor, it is well alive and raring to try out new things!

So here it is: our first ever 'successful' bread. By that we mean:

* The bread was edible
* The dough was cooked all the way across,
* It was moist and
* The bread didnt turn into a brick the following day!

We chose to try out a Focaccia bread.

We followed Deeba's Focaccia recipe, although I am sure that there are numerous Focaccia recipes available across the blogosphere. However, we excluded the whole wheat from her recipe and cut down the amount of ingredients by half (except the yeast) so that even if the bread didn't come out successfully, we wouldn't end up wasting that much stuff!! Of course, we regret that decision now :)


3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp active dry yeast
1.5 tsp sugar
1.5 cups lukewarm water
some dry chives, oregano, basil and parsley flakes
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Basically, we proofed the yeast by adding it to lukewarm water (which is already mixed with sugar). Then we added this to the other dry ingredients to form a not so sticky dough. Then we balled it up in an oiled bowl and let it rise until it roughly doubled in volume. Then ball was then put in a greased baking dish. We used an 8 inch porcelain dish which was 1.5 inches deep. We sprinkled the top of the dough with olive oil and let it rise for some more time (about 30 mins). Finally, we garnished with some onions (juliennes), freshly chopped garlic and dried basil on the top and baked at 400F for 35 minutes.

Here is how it looked like before I put it in the oven and started flitting around like a parent outside an ICU!

It was a nice feeling to see the bread come out fragrant and moist. It tasted great too :) We had some with a sun-dried tomato dip right away, fearing that the bread might turn from pillow to pallet the next day! I was pleasantly surprised when that did not happen :)

But I feel that I left it a couple of minutes too long in the oven and the baking dish was a shade small.

And now some more teases on the bakeware. We bought a bunch of stuff from a store called Ross. We bought a porcelain baking set (one rectangular tray, one circular tray used for the Focaccia and two ramekins)....for just $10.50 :) Thats just Rs. 500! This was followed by a 25 lb (11.3 kgs!) of all purpose flour. You get the drift ;) So stay tuned for some more baked goods on our blog :)


Anonymous said...

Baking bread is magical and so rewarding! Nothing compares to the taste of home made bread!

delhibelle said...

Good show!
Your journey from Barely Bakers to Raring Bakers inspire Bako-phobiacs like me!

Nags said...

ooooh! i thought u were going to post the braided one :) btw, who is writing the posts, A or N? ;)

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

You have a great sense of humor!!
Great attempt..I am still not prepared to try a bread..You are brave!!!
Great bread!!

PG said...

That looks really tempting! Now i need to go and eat something after seeing your post! :)
Looking forward to more!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I am so glad to know that you have overcome your problems! That Focaccia looks divine!

Today, I made an immense batch of fragrant seed bread! Now, the apartment smells like heaven...



Manggy said...

Ooh, nice foccacia-- I tried to make it before but it was quite tough. I blame the flour, haha :) I love the onion touch!

sowmya said...

the bread has turned out really good..havent tried baking bread as going to try one soon..

Mythreyee said...

Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful eggless recipe for focaccia.

Sujatha said...

I enjoyed reading your post! and I laughed so much for your "Barely bakers"! Yes, indeed its a great feeling when you get the bread so moist and soft after all that effort! Looks Delicious!

Laavanya said...

That focaccia looks so fluffy and great... ! You have a great blog here.. will be back for more soon.

Uma said...

mmm. delicious focaccia! Turned out so good.

rekhas kitchen said...

Thanks for visiting my blog that bread was just amazing I am abig fan of just baked breads once again thanks for visiting and a beautiful comment

Cham said...

Wow, nothing beats homemade bread... Looks so delicious...

Madhavi said...

Focaccia looks perfect, homemade bread rockssss!!! Check out my version

Suma Rajesh said...

homemade bread is very perfect....sounds interesting and yummuy

Anonymous said...

Wow....the bread looks so soft!!!! The recipe looks good,I might try it out. You know even I love shopping at Ross. SOmetimes they beat even Walmart prices! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Very well done on your first bread! I must say it's the first time I see a foccacia baked in a dish, but it looks very good and with a nice crumb! Glad you enjoyed it!

Sunshinemom said...

Baking bread brings so many good flavors in the house it is almost like cleansing the air! Love focaccia with some cheese on the side.

notyet100 said...

this looks so so delicious,..:-)

Meera said...

Wow! That sure looks delicious.

Jaya said...

OH! what a beautiful baked Focaccia , looks like a pro ..
I must admit I have never tried baking breads , but you both are inspiring me to do so ..
great work and keep it up....
hugs and smiles

Shreya said...

Hi A&N, you've introduced me Focaccia. The dish looks great! I've never baked, and should soon be trying. You are my inspiration:-)

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Sameera.. said...

Wow !
You guys seem to be on a baking spree ;) Gives me inspiration to buy new bakeware :D
Best Rgds,

Sig said...

Wow, first time huh, it looks great! :)
And that is some great deal on bakeware!

Uma said...

Yes, you can use dosa batter too in the same way as I did for idli batter. Just replace the idli batter with dosa batter and follow the recipe. Let me know if you try! Thanks.

Adam said...

The bread looks great. I like the texture.

Oh, and not a huge baseball fan, but Mets actually. I'm the biggest JETS fan this side of the equator though.

Sameera.. said...

Hey A&N,
Check out the noodles that I made ...
I hope you like them !
Best Rgds,

A&N said...

@ Mad Tea Party: Absolutely! :) Welcome to our blog.

@ Delhibelle: :P try it! We had bakophobia too.

@ Nags: Reserving it for later :P And A did the writing this time around, of course under strict supervision :D

@ Swati: Nothing beats Noddy ;) Thank you for your compliments! They mean a lot.

@ PG: Go and eat some :) Thank you, PG!

@ Rosa: Thank YOU! Looking forward to the seed cake post :)

@ Manggy: Thanks :) And I love the onions too.

@ Sowmya: Baking is really fulfilling! And thanks for the Foodbuzz referral. We'll get onto it soon :)

@ Mythreyee: Sure thing! :) We're always looking for eggless recipes.

@ Sujatha: Thank you, Sujatha. We only try ;)

@ Laavanya: Hey there! Thanks a ton!

@ Uma: Yeah! Yummmmmmmmmmm :)

@ Rekhas kitchen: Thanks. You are on our reader! :)

@ Cham: I agree :)

@ Madhavi: Thanks! A loves olives, so I should try your version sometime :)

@ Suma: Yes, yes and a yes :) Thank you!

@ Homecooked: Ross rocks eh? :) Thank you for visiting!

@ Clumbsy cookie: Yeah, we did not realize when/why we were using a dish :P

@ Sunshinemom: We had ours with some flavoured olive oil. Very little, of course ;)

@ Notyet100: Thank you!

@ Meera : Gracias :)

@ Jaya: Thank you, Jaya. We are no pros, believe me! This is the nth bread we tried and only this was blog worthy!

@ Shreya: Try it, and you will be hooked. Like me :)

@ Hyderabadiz: Like A who imitates Stewie Griffin: WHAT THE DEUCE?!?

@ Sameera: :D Remember the bakeware?

@ Sig: Hey, your blog is a favourite. Thanks for visiting us!

@ Uma: Thanks for the clarification. A is waiting for the right time to fry those pakoras :)

@ Adam: Err..yes, I guess A commented there. No wonder the discussion veers towards baseball! :) But, thanks for visiting us and for all the compliments :D

Dragon said...

Oh, how lovely. And yummy!

Rachel said...

Wow..focaccia looks too good for words...and u call yourselves baring bakers...Hmmmm!!!

A&N said...

@ dragon: Thanks! Hopefully you'll feel similar about our future posts too ;)

@ rachel: Thanks for your kind words. We call ourselves 'barely bakers', but yeah, we get the drift ;)

Rachel said...


Gosh I just realized the blunder...gosh!!!!!

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