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Old 04-12-2008, 11:13 PM   #1
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First Focaccia Bread

A couple of things happened since my last post on the hot dog and hamburger buns. First, the temperature sensor in our 16 year old Tappan range malfunctioned, and the repair was going to cost almost $200 for labor and materials. We decided say good bye to it, and went and bought a new range at the local appliance store. DW wanted to replace it anyway, because it was white and it clashed with the new ice box (black), so this just accelerated the decision (Personally, I think she put a whammy on it.) Here's out new toy (notice starters for tomorrow in bowls flanking the range):



It goes well with the black microwave and black granite tops (different shade of black).

Secondly, while shopping for the new range, I stopped into the local Half Price Books store, and DW pointed out a stack of brand new books on the closeout table; The Complete Book of Bread & Bread Machines, by Christine Ingram and Jeannie Shapter. They were only $7.98, so I grabbed one. I can't believe the volume of recipes from around the world, including step-by-step tutorials for making scores of different breads. There is a huge section loaded with recipes just for the bread machines, but they can easily be adapted to conventional breadmaking. This book has some of the best bread photography I have seen, and is a great resource for a newbie like myself. I also got a 10th printing of James Beard's Beard on Bread for meager $4.98. He covers some things in his book that are not in the other, so collectively they give me a better understanding of what I need to be paying attention to while baking bread.

I picked up and installed the new range today, and while "burning it off" for an hour, I started into the The Complete Book of Bread & Bread Machines. When I found the recipe for Focaccia bread, I said that's the one I want to try, since it's pretty simple and can be made on my pizza stone. I jazzed it up a little with some Italian seasonings and Parmesan cheese, and here's how the first item baked in the new oven turned out:



The pictures are not getting the true color of this bread, as it's a marvelous golden brown. Of course we had to cut it to sample it, so I got a shot of the crumb as well. I'm happy with it, but don't know if this is what I should expect from this bread:



We mixed a little Balsamic vinegar and EVOO together for dipping, and heated up a bit of Ragu Robusto Onion & Garlic sauce for dipping as well. It tasted great, and will be taking one of these for the kitchen rats at church tomorrow night. We have an event, so the help will all get a little treat as well.

I have a starter going for some seeded Italian I'll bake tomorrow, as well as the NY Times bread percolating on the counter. That will be made first thing in the morning. I found a Pyrex bowl with a matching lid at a flea market this morning for $2, so I'm going to try it out and hope teh darn thing doesn't crack when i throw the dough into the heated glass bowl.

It sure smells good around here today, and we like it that way.

Joe

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Old 04-13-2008, 12:33 AM   #2
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Gorgeous stove! Gorgeous bread! Cool finds on the bread books too. Talk to me about this 1/2 price book store? I want one!!! And that's the first I've seen of the Crisco olive oil too. I know it's somewhat off topic, but how is that oil? I've a coupon and can't find it around here!
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:12 AM   #3
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when I used to work, I would stop by this store and buy a sandwich with this bread and
I always wanted to make that recipe. I have seen it made on TV but never have tried it.
I think you have made a fantastic loaf of that bread and I would be very pleased if my
bread would come looking like the one you made. great job. it sure looks good. I will
have to give it a try.
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AMSeccia View Post
Gorgeous stove! Gorgeous bread! Cool finds on the bread books too. Talk to me about this 1/2 price book store? I want one!!! And that's the first I've seen of the Crisco olive oil too. I know it's somewhat off topic, but how is that oil? I've a coupon and can't find it around here!
Andrea,

1/2 Price Books is located in 15 states, and has two locations in Madison, WI, but nothing throughout the rest of the state. You can look them up at Half Price Books, Records, Magazines, Inc.

The Crisco EVOO is the same as the others we have bought, IMO, but it is a little less costly. We have not noticed any difference in the taste from the other comparably priced brands we have purchased.

Joe
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:58 AM   #5
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Love the kitchen! Very envious. And the bread doesn't look half bad either! ;-)
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:00 AM   #6
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I get the Crisco Extra Light Olive Oil (Oz version) and it is as JoeV says, very similar to other brands but a bit cheaper.
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:17 AM   #7
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Thanks JoeV, so it's as much a recycling outlet as a new store ... what a concept! I will seek them out if/when I can get to Madison or even MN (relatives nearby).

So how'd that bread taste? Did you dip and savor or make sandwiches? Can you imagine the croutons that would make? Yummo!
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:21 AM   #8
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Hey Joe,

Looking at the crumb picture ... were you cutting directly on your granite countertops? I see the cut marks but the surface looks darker than a normal cutting board.

Sorry about a sort of OT question (again).
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:48 AM   #9
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Never give up hope. Keep trying.
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:31 PM   #10
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So how'd that bread taste? Did you dip and savor or make sandwiches? Can you imagine the croutons that would make? Yummo!
The Focaccia was excellent. We made a dipping sauce of EVOO & Balsamic vinegar, and then for lunch I made this:



I slit the bread in half and slathered some mayo on both sides. Then layered boiled ham, Genoa salami, copacolla and munster cheese. Unbelievable flavor. I feel like the fatted calf!

Quote:
Hey Joe,

Looking at the crumb picture ... were you cutting directly on your granite countertops? I see the cut marks but the surface looks darker than a normal cutting board.
I have a black cutting board that almost looks like the black granite. I wouldn't cut on the granite because it would take the edge off my knives.

Joe
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