Confession: I’m actually pretty terrible with bread.
One of the things that I came to realize when I started to learn how to cook is that while bread making is easy, there’s a difference between making bread and making bread that a person would want to eat.
However, I was shopping at a local store a few weeks ago and found this focaccia that looked amazing-it was embedded with vegetables and herbs, and looked absolutely lovely.
It was also $7 for a slab of bread the size of a piece of notebook paper. Nope, not doing that.
I finally got around to hacking the bread this weekend. The recipe is slightly modified from Crunchy Creamy Sweet, and is a beautifully easy bread to put together.
It looks like there’s a lot of steps here, but there really isn’t. Bread is just hard to describe on paper.
I used garlic honey from my fermented honey for the proofing. If you don’t happen to be on the honey ferment bandwagon, add some garlic to the vegetable mix at the end.
I was cooking against a deadline (that I actually failed at, and poor Mid had to have hot dogs instead) so I didn’t caramelize the vegetables first. If I had time, I would have sweated the vegetables a little in a pan over medium low heat with some minced garlic.
I didn’t actually knead the dough after the stand mixer was done with it. I just added a little extra flour and mixed in enough to dry the dough out to handle-ability in the mixer bowl and dumped it into the skillet. I just stretched it out to fit.
If your dough ends up slightly smaller than your skillet, don’t worry. It’ll expand during rising.
Skillet Vegetable Focaccia
1 cast iron skillet
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tea honey
1 1/2 tea regular yeast (not the instant kind)
3/4 cup warm but not hot water
1 tea salt
2 tbl oil (I used olive)
1/2 table Italian seasoning
For the topping:
I used 1/2 each onion and green bell pepper, thinly sliced
Olive oil for drizzling
honey for drizzling
Preheat oven to 220.
In the bowl of a stand mixer set with a dough hook, add warm water. Add honey and mix until dissolved. Add yeast, and let proof for five minutes or until foamy and slightly beery smelling.
Add one cup of flour, Italian seasoning, and salt, mix until combined.
(I turned off the oven here, and left the door closed).
Add about 3/4 of the of rest of the flour, and the oil. Scrap down the sides of the bowl and mix until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Using the reserved 1/4 cup of flour, shape the dough into a ball.
Coat the skillet with olive oil (may not be necessary if your skillet is really well seasoned) and place dough ball into pan. Stretch to fit the skillet.
Place it the warm, not running, oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the skillet and preheat oven to 400.
Poke holes into the proofed dough with your finger.
Drizzle dough with honey, oil, vegetables, cheese, and seasonings.
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
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