HIGH RISE CARAMELIZED ONION FOCACCIA
This was one of my first posts on bread about three years ago, when I determined to replicate the Iggy’s focaccia that Whole Foods sells for about $8 for a loaf-sized hunk. It was a beautiful bread for sandwiches. I first tried this easy, no-knead recipe in a 3″ deep roasting pan. That was a pretty good first effort, producing the taste and texture I wanted, it was excellent as a bread alongside dinner, but not high enough to give me sandwich-sized slices. Next effort was in a large loaf pan, and the result? Focaccia for a pittance, minimal effort, maximal results. This 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.
2 cups lukewarm water
7 grams SAF instant yeast, or other fast-rising yeast
4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour
2 tsp kosher 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 in the water to dissolve. Stir in 2 cups flour and 2 tsp salt and stir briskly until smooth, about 2 minutes. With sturdy wooden spoon or silicone spatula, 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 for 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.
Lightly brush bottom and sides of a large loaf pan, at least 9 x 5″ (I use a very large Dansk Kobenstyle) with a bit of olive oil, and line it with a parchment paper sling. Pour the dough into the pan and with wet fingertips, gently press it out to the sides. 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 35 minutes until nicely browned, then remove the loaf in its sling, discard the parchment paper and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.