Written Recipes
Focaccia col Formaggio di Recco
Peter Reinhart

I discovered this in northern Italy, in the Ligurian town of Recco, just south of Genoa. I'm in love with it!! It is made with the simplest of all doughs yet makes an extraordinary type of unusual focaccia. The dough is unleavened and, when rolled out paper thin, is not all that different from Greek phyllo (aka, fillo) dough. It is used not only in the Ligurian Focaccia col Formaggio di Recco, but also in countless Greek and Macedonian pastries of the pita tradition. While the focaccia col formaggio is made in large copper pans, such as what we had at da Vittoria Ristoranti in Recco, this version uses a 10” cake pan to make a smaller version; if you

 
Peter's Herb Oil on Brad's Cheese Pizza
Brad English

I've been playing with Peter's Herb Oil recipe for a while - ever since I first read his book American Pie "My Search for the Perfect Pizza".  I have only focused on using it with Pizza, but he has some very interesting suggestions and ideas I'd like to try some time.


I woke up early the other morning, about 5:00 AM, and realized that I while I wanted to sleep, what I really wanted to do was to take some photos to go with the Peter's Herb Oil recipe.  So I came downstairs and pulled a couple of frozen pizza doughs out of the freezer to use with my new batch of Herb Oil and went back to bed.  Later, after getting the kids off to school, I made the Herb Oil and took photos while the dough came up to temperature.

 
Multi-Purpose Herb Oil
Peter Reinhart

My guess is that you will use this more than any other specialty topping, and you can make as much as you like because it will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. Its original use was for focaccia but then I discovered it is also excellent drizzled over many types of pizza, and can also be used to marinate or flavor various ingredients, especially fresh, sliced tomatoes and thinly sliced potatoes (for potato parmesan focaccia or, even better, potato bacon focaccia (or pizza). I'll give directions for making those in a future posting, as well as for my favorite herb oil clam pizza. I also use the herb oil as a bread dipping condiment, and even as a base for salad dressings. There are an infinite number of ways to make this, using both fresh and dried herbs in many combinations,

 
Fresh Mozzarella
Brad English

Fresh Mozzarella from Curd

While we filmed recently in Boulder, Colorado, one of the pizzaiolos who attended the pizza making conference did a recipe demo using Mozzarella Curd provided by Bel Gioioso.  It is one of the pizzas he makes and people seem to really like it.  The pizza was amazing.  (Note: You'll see more about that when we post the video in a few weeks.)

I couldn't get this pizza out of my mind.  I kept thinking about the curd that he salted the night before and left in the refrigerator for use the next day.  It seemed just a little more fresh, or real, at least in the sense that one of the main ingredients he was using was that much closer to it's original form.

We also got an email from a viewer asking us if there was a typed recipe for the Bel Gioioso Mozzarella Curd video on our site.  That got me thinking.  First,  I emailed Bel Gioioso and got the written recipe.  Then, I found a local dealer and picked up a block of Bel Gioioso's Mozzarella Curd and decided to watch the video on our site and make some Fresh Mozzarella Cheese!

My son and I watched the video twice and jumped in.  Success!  It was not only easy, but it was delicious.  To stand there at the counter and taste the supple, slightly warm in the middle piece of cheese that Owen and I just stretched and made ourselves was simply one of the best cooking experiences I've had in a long time.  Let's just say that the first ball of cheese was pulled apart one tear at a time and it was gone in short order.  I can't wait to try this the next time we have friends over for dinner.  What a great way to hang out before the meal, getting everyone involved and then tasting the cheese that we all just made together.  I think this is an important aspect of what we're trying to do here while we search

 

 
Focaccia Dough Recipe, Genoa-Style
Peter Reinhart

Last week we gave you a recipe for caramelized onion marmalade that makes a killer focaccia topping when couple with walnuts and blue cheese. But any focaccia or pizza, no matter the quality of the toppings, is only as good as the crust, and this one is the best I've ever had, even better than in Genoa and San Francisco. See what you think and let us know.



Focaccia Dough, Day One
4 1/2  cups  (20.5 ounces by weight)………….…unbleached bread flour
1 ¾  teaspoons (.33 ounces)……………………………salt
1 1/4  teaspoons (.15 ounce)   ………………….....instant yeast
2  cups (16 ounces)…..................................cold water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce)    …………………………….olive oil
(Plus extra olive oil for oiling the storage bowl and the baking pan, about 1/4 cup)

Day One:
--Make the focaccia dough by mixing all the dough ingredients, except the olive oil, in a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer (you can add the instant yeast directly to the flour—it does not have to be hydrated first as you would with active dry yeast. See Notes below). Use the paddle attachment if using an electric mixer, on slow speed. Mix or knead for about one minute, until all the flour is hydrated and you have a coarse, wet, shaggy mass of dough. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix an additional 15 seconds to coat the dough with the oil. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then resume mixing for 1 additional minute.  The dough will be very soft and sticky, like ciabatta dough, but the gluten will be developed enough and the dough will be soft but bouncy. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, stretch and fold it from all four sides and flip it over in the bowl, cover the bowl (not the dough) with plastic wrap, and refrigerate immediately, overnight.

Day Two:
--Remove the dough from the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before you plan to bake it (it will have nearly doubled overnight). Cover the bottom of a baking pan with either baking parchment or a silicon pad (aka, Silpat). Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the surface and rub it around to coat the entire surface area of the pan as well as the inside walls.

--Transfer the dough from the bowl to the baking pan with a bowl scraper or rubber spatula that has been dipped in water. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and then use your fingertips to press and "dimple" the dough into the pan (begin from the center and work out towards the edges of the pan). Do not flatten it with the palms of your hands but only with the fingertips, to make these dimpled pockets in which the oil will settle. The dough will only cover about 2/3 of the pan before starting to spring back. Stop pressing and let the dough rest for 20 minutes, uncovered, to relax the gluten.

--Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over the surface and evenly dimple out the dough as in the previous step. This time the dough will cover nearly the entire surface but will probably spring back a little to cover 85% of the pan. Let it rest another 20 minutes.

--Drizzle another tablespoon of olive on the surface and dimple out the dough one final time. It will be nicely covered with "flavor pockets" and should cover the whole pan. If it recedes from the corners, don't worry as it will fill the corners when it rises and bakes. Let the dough rise, uncovered, for two to three hours at room temperature. It will fill the pan to the rim. At this point, add the toppings, but not the cheese (other than wet cheeses like blue or feta or goat cheese--but other cheeses should be added only at the end of the bake--see below).

--Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees (400 degrees if convection). Bake the focccia on the middle shelf for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake an additional

 

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American Pie Artisan Breads Every Day Bread Baker's Apprentice Brother Juniper's Bread Book Crust and Crumb Whole Grain Breads

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