Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stuffed Focaccia Bread

     The other night my wife and I adapted a recipe from the cook book Vegetarian Food for Friends . The time it took to prepare the dough and the veggies may have seemed endless because we were starving but this recipe yields a full cookie sheet of goodness that we've enjoyed for the past few days.
     This dish is as versatile as pizza and could be likened to a calzone, but what sets this apart from those is the salty and crunchy and at the same time soft focaccia bread. It's an easy bread to make that is basic and only requires sea salt in terms of any special flavoring. However, we chose to throw in a generous amount of rosemary.

This is adapted from the book Vegetarian Food For Friends.

Focaccia Bread:

3 1/3 Cups White Bread Flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 oz. package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil 
 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (optional) 
or fresh small sprigs of rosemary.


1/2 red bell pepper; halved, seeded and sliced
1/2 orange bell pepper, halved, seeded and sliced
1 red onion sliced
olive oil for roasting
8 oz. mozzarella cheeze 
large handful of fresh basil, chopped
8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced
handful of pitted black olives
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

(This might seem like a lot of expensive ingredients, but it's not too bad considering the amount it yields. Some ways to cut cost is to:
  • only buy 1 red bell pepper, or even a green one instead
  • skip the sun-dried tomatoes for well drained- stewed can tomatoes
  • skip the cheese. This can be a wonderful vegan dish! besides cheese is too expensive.
put the flour salt and yeast in a large bowl, stir in olive oil and 1 1/2 cups of water. Be sure to heat the water to the temperature specified by the yeast packet. Mix dough with hands , then start to knead dough until it is smooth and springy (about 10 minutes) or take out the stand mixer like I did and slap that dough hook on. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and lightly oil the top of the dough to prevent it from drying out. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel and let sit in a warm place for about 30 mins. The dough should double in size.

While you let the dough rise, let's prepare the veggies. Preheat oven to 350ˆF. Put the bell peppers and onion on a roasting pan and sprinkle with olive oil and salt. If using fresh or canned tomatoes let those roast as well with the bell peppers and onion for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Mix in the mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, oil, olives, salt and pepper.

Back to Dough:
Transfer to lightly floured surface or Baking Mat and cut in half.  Using a rolling pin or a glass jar or anything cylindrical, roll out dough so that it is about the size of the baking pan. If you use this piece as the bottom shell make a little larger so that it curls up the pan a bit. Lay it down and spread the veggie mixture on top so it is rather evenly distributed. Roll out the other half of dough and make a similar rectangle piece, this time placing on top of the veggies, kinda like tucking them into a bed. Press the edges of the dough together so you seal them in.

Ensuite, brush with the 2 teaspoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and dot with fresh sprigs of rosemary (or dried). Set aside tray and let rise for 30 mins. Just before you place the tray into the oven make plenty of indentations in the dough. (I forgot to do this, but be sure you do).  Then, bake in oven at 350`F for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Oh my it smells so good and taste even better.

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