Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 43: Herbed Focaccia

Don't laugh or roll you eyes too much when you read this! If you all weren't so very nice to me, I would never dare to share this! I really debated about posting this recipe. Not because it isn't good, but because it was a total failure. This was my first, and so far only, attempt at yeast breads. I chose this one because it doesn't have to raise very much, and if it didn't rise no on could tell. I've made it in my kitchen and it worked great, but this one was a disaster. I didn't know to preheat the lid, and I know I didn't have the heat right because it took an hour to cook. Don't laugh to much when you read this! At least I can say that I have learned a lot since I tried this bread!
Herbed Focaccia
14" dutch oven
3/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. warm water
3 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. nonfat dry milk powder
3 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary or 3/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
In a bowl, combine the water and yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. add remaining ingredients and knead well. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for 1 minute. Roll out into a 14 inch circle (or a 15x10" rectangle if cooking indoors). Put dough in the DO and press it up the sides just a little. Cover and let rise 20-30 minutes. With a wooden spoon handle, make indentations a 1" intervals. Brush the dough with olive oil; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, rosemary and garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees using 24 coals on top and 12 on the bottom for 13-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Serves 8-10. It would probably be a good idea to take it off the bottom coals partway through cooking.
The Finished Product

Honestly, this doesn't look as bad as it was! :)
What I Learned
This was a disaster. It took an hour to cook because I tried to cook it at the wrong temperature. I tried this bread before I discovered the baking temperatures chart. Baking at the right temperature is REALLY important if you didn't know. I now know that I should have preheated the lid--it should have been nice and hot. I also should have used more heat.
The Review
This was terrible, terrible, terrible! It was like biting into the side of a cardboard box. Or maybe Little Caesar's pizza crust without any toppings. I made the mistake of using the bottled, grated Parmesan cheese because I was too lazy to grate the fresh stuff. I have learned my lesson on that, and bottled Parmesan will never show its face in my fridge again! BARF!! Now honestly, this is a great recipe that my family loves. And it was my first attempt at breads. I did this before I had even tried biscuits. So I won't be too hard on myself. When I recover from my shame, I will try this again and it will work. I won't rate this recipe because it is really good when it isn't suffering from operator error!


  1. the power vested in me by the Dutch Oven Cooks Anonymous....your shame is hereby removed and you are free to resume cooking....

    No shame in trying something new...ever! This recipe looks like it has definate
    possibilities. I can't wait to give it a shot.

  2. My first ever Dutch Oven cook-off, I made a "Pumpkin Cake". It was similar to a dump cake with a few more steps. I had every dish planned perfectly with the presentation time and I had practiced making the dish a few times.

    At the cook-off, I noticed everyone presented their food on the lid of a Dutch Oven. I figured, sure... why not. I flipped my 'cake' onto the lid with confidence.

    The 'cake' was a mound of soft, squishy, pudding like substance. I was already screwed, so I sort of just patted the blob into a cake like shape and put it on the judge's table.

    There were two Novice teams, me cooking solo and another team. The other Novice team scored higher than any other team. My scores were so low that is was just embarrassing. That was September 2006 at the Weber County Fair Cook-Off.

  3. I know what you are going through. I was scared to death to try bread... Then I tried "no knead" Fortunately at the same time I bought Artisan Bread in 5 min a day.
    I gathered from their instructions that "pre heat" is essential. I use my cast iron instead of the "stone". It works great.
    Keep at it you will do fine

  4. We all flop a time or two. It keeps us humble. Thanks for blogging it.

    Breads are challenging, but I hope you try this again, and let us know how it turns out the second time.

  5. If someone learns from this (me :)) it was not a failure, but an experiment in how not to do it next time :) Personally I don't mind goofing up, as long as I learn from it and discover what went sideways :) Next time will be better :)

  6. You are all so nice to me. This bread was a train wreck. But I did learn a lot, and hopefully you will learn from this too. A better focaccia is in my future--the magic 8 ball told me so!

  7. I think it was the 1989 Utha State Fair I baked focaccia, and it tured out very good, but the juges back then knew nothing! They said it was diqualifed becouse it didn't rase right. Keep having fun, thats what its all about.

  8. I just bought a dutch oven and know absolutely nothing about them. I plan on using it in the regular oven and so far have done 1 recipe in it,a no knead pot bread which turned out great except it got a little too dark on the bottom which we cut off. Any suggestions for using in the oven and not with charcoal?

  9. Hey Toni, everyone has a dish like this every once in a while. :) Just scrape and wash the oven, and get ready for the next one : )

  10. After many years of practice, study, and failures, I finally enjoy doing yeast breads. It ain' easy! You're right, it doesn't look bad from the pictures. Taste proves, though, I guess.

    Keep trying! I see some other good-looking yeast bread entries on your blog, so you're doing something right!

    I don't get out blog reading as much as I used to. I sure love reading yours!


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