HIGH RISE CARAMELIZED ONION FOCACCIA
Whole Foods sells gorgeous hunks of high-rise focaccia bread from Iggy’s for about $8 for a good-sized piece, enough for a few sandwiches or the bread-board alongside your dinner. I wanted to make my own, and deveoped this easy, no-knead recipe a couple of years ago. First tried it in a 3″ deep roasting pan, and then – Eureka! – in a large loaf pan. The result – focaccia for a pittance, minimal effort, maximal results. Mine is topped with sautéed onions and rosemary, but you can simply add a bit of olive oil and salt if you prefer to leave out the topping.
High Rise Caramelized Onion Focaccia
2 cups lukewarm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached bread flour
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 medium sweet onion halved and sliced thinly
Salt & pepper to taste
In large mixing bowl, stir the yeast to dissolve. Stir in 2 cups flour and 2 tsp salt and stir briskly until smooth, about 2 minutes. With strong wooden spoon, stir in remaining 2 cups flour for another 2 minutes, until dough pulls aways from sides of bowl and flour is incorporated. Dough will be fairly wet and tacky, but when it pulls away from sides of bowl and forms a loose ball, it has been stirred sufficiently.
Cover bowl with plastic and let rise in warm place about one hour.
Meanwhile, sauté the onion and rosemary in one tbsp olive oil, with salt & pepper to taste, until onion is just beginning to turn golden.
Preheat oven to 500.
Brush bottom and sides of 9 x 5″ large loaf pan (I use a larger Dansk Kobenstyle that makes a very large loaf) with remaining tbsp olive oil and pour dough into it, very gently pressing it out to the sides. NOTE: Alternatively, lightly oil the loaf pan and line it with a parchment paper sling before pouring in the dough. Spread the onion mixture over the dough, lightly sprinkle with a bit more sea salt, and gently poke all over with one finger to form shallow depressions. Cover and allow to rise another 30 minutes.
Place bread on center rack in preheated oven and reduce heat to 400. Bake 30-35 minutes until nicely browned. Cool in pan on rack about 20 minutes, then loosen around sides with metal spatula and gently slide spatula under the loaf to remove from pan. Allow to cool completely on wire rack.