Chef Simeon Hall Jr.
Focaccia for Smarties.
Listen......anyone that bakes will tell you a testament to their favorite recipes are the ones they can recite by heart. I'm no "baker", but this recipe right chere', I gat dis one.
21 oz 85 degree water
5 oz good olive oil
2 lbs 3 oz AP flour
3/4 oz yeast mix for 60 seconds.
3/4 oz salt mix for 60 seconds.
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp fried Italian herbs
1 sprig chopped rosemary
I use a kitchen aid here, sorry Grammy I ain't hand kneading no bread foe noone. At the final stage mix the dough on the highest setting for 4 minutes. Shape into a ball.
Add to a deep oven pan with 1 oz olive oil added. Massage the bread on both sides to cover with the olive oil. Then dimple it across the pan until it reaches the edge every 10 minutes or so.
Add toppings if desired and bake at 375 until golden. About 20 minutes.
Okay so I'm telling you, this recipe is amazing. Its diverse and can hold its own on any dinner table.
What is Autolyse? Okay let's start at the beginning. This is advance baking that all my followers should master at this stage.
Here are 5 must know tips when perfecting this recipe.
1. Select the best flour. If an artisan small batch flour mill isn't your neighbor, then to me King Arthur is the next best thing in The Bahamas. My Grammy swore by this brand and so do I. Disagree? Welp then use your favorite, dats all. Remember that different flours have different applications.
2. Be patient, autolyse. This is the mixing of the flour and water only to hydrate the flour. This step is magical. In this recipe I I autolyse the flour water and oil for 15 minutes and then add the remaining ingredients.
3. Try hard practice. Listen I've made this bread over a thousand times literally and I still get it wrong. Just this week I made an "iffy" batch. I premeasured my ingredients the night before including the water. BIG MISTAKE. The water was way too cold and I ending up over kneading it trying to raise the dough temperature. That bread ended up as CROUTONS 😢😢. So, don't think baking is easy. Practice! Practice! Practice.
4. Preheat your oven. Beyeh! Listen. Try hard stop being cheap and turn that oven on 1 hour before you bake anything. Have you ever tried to deep fry something in cold oil and then bring the temperature up? Well that's what happens when you put anything in a cold oven. This will not be good for any recipe especially this one.
5. Don't eat hot bread! Here we go. Bahamains love hot bread. Truth of the matter is you dont get to really taste most breads when they are hot. All you taste is hot and soft. Cool bread develops true taste and texture. After all that hard work you want to enjoy your vread at room temperature. This is how you eat GREAT BREAD!