In all my books, I call this fast and delicious flatbread “naan,” which is a specialty from India, but truth be told, it isn’t really naan, because the authentic article is made in a massive ceramic oven (“tandoor”), and the flatbreads are slapped onto the sides of its huge bowl-shaped surface and cooked over charcoal. My version is from page 260 of “The New Artisan Bread in Five … .” For those of us who don’t have a tandoor at home, we can still make chewy, fragrant flatbreads in a skillet, right on the stovetop. I’ve done it on gas, electric, and induction stovetops, but I’m going to put in a brief plug for induction, because I recently got one, and I’m in love with it. It’s instant-on, rapidly responsive, and very, very stingy with energy and carbon emissions. This is part of the electric transition that is probably in all our futures and that my family has started trying to make. Induction is nothing like traditional radiant electric stovetops — it’s actually better than gas, by a lot, despite persuasive advertising from the gas industry, since the 1930s which brought us the wacky expression, “Now you’re cookin’ with gas!” I was a gas diehard … until I tried induction at a friend’s house. Melissa Clark had a great article on this last year if you’re interested in learning more. But this bread, which doesn’t care what kind of stovetop you use, is fast and delicious, and stovetop cooking doesn’t heat up your kitchen like an oven, so it’s a great choice for the upcoming warm weather (someday soon, fingers crossed, even here in Minnesota). Read on …
We wanted to sneak in some summer berries before apples and pumpkin take center stage (and also take over the internet). This delicious focaccia bread is based on a recipe from Edd Kimber’s beautiful new cookbook, One Tin Bakes; his version uses fragolina grapes and rosemary. But I had blackberries in my fridge that needed to be used, some leftover Master dough, and my basil plant is currently larger than life, so Blackberry Basil Focaccia was born.
This focaccia is sweet: it’s dolloped with mascarpone and sprinkled with sugar, and the results are amazing. You will want to eat this the day it’s made, and I highly recommend digging in while it still slightly warm.
Blackberry Mascarpone Focaccia with Basil
Inspired by Edd Kimber’s One Tin Bakes
For the mascarpone topping
1/2 cup [4 ounces] Mascarpone
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a small bowl, mix the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla together until combined.
For the focaccia
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup blackberries, chopped
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into a quarter sheet pan (a 9 x 13 pan will work, too) and use a pastry brush or your fingers to to rub it all over the base and up the sides of the pan. Place the dough into the pan, coating the bottom with oil, then turn the dough over so that both sides are coated in oil. Using your fingertips, gently spread the dough into the pan in an even layer. If the dough resists, let it rest a few minutes and try again, until the dough is nestled into the pan and into the corners. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425F. Gently dimple the dough with your fingertips.
Scatter the blackberries evenly over the dough, then sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top (it will look like too much sugar).
Dollop the mascarpone mixture over the dough, and then drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Bake the bread for 18 to 25 minutes, or until light golden.
Scatter the basil leaves over the top of the hot bread. Move the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then remove the focaccia from the pan and let cool on a wire rack (this helps it stay crisp).
Cut the bread into squares and serve. Best eaten the same day it’s made.
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Once in a while I make a decision that seems like a fantastic idea, then it terrifies me and then proves to change my life. Agreeing to write Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day with Jeff in 2005 was one such moment. Recently, I gave my dad a gift that falls into the same category. He has been going into the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) on the Minnesota/Canada border for decades. He’s gone alone, he’s taken my brothers, he’s taken my sons, but I have never gone. To say I am not a camper is an understatement. I like memory foam and a thread count on my sheets that you can’t buy at REI. So, when I asked him to take me camping in the BWCA, he was thrilled and booked the date before I could change my mind, which I have considered many times. I am so excited, slightly terrified and I’ve heard many people say this is a trip of a lifetime. I have no doubt I will come back a changed woman.
My dad came over to start planning our big canoeing adventure, so I figured a cheesy, spinach and egg boat was a fitting lunch. This savory flatbread is featured in our The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, made with our whole wheat master recipe. Today I made it with brioche dough and it was fantastic. It’s a really fun flatbread, that is easier than you think to make and will jazz up a breakfast, lunch or brunch. It may or may not change your life, but it will add joy! Read More
This is the season of soup. It’s cold outside here in Minnesota and there’s nothing better than a cup of hot soup. Oh, and there’s all that leftover turkey to deal with and the beautiful butternut squash proliferation at the grocery store. To go with all that soup you’ll be making, there’s nothing better than homemade bread. This fougasse is a traditional Provencale French flatbread. It is both crispy, due to all that crusty surface and tender on the inside. It’s like a fancy breadstick. Because it is a flatbread, it is faster to make, since you have such a short resting time. To go with an aromatic soup, I added lots of chopped garlic to the bread dough and the result is fantastic. Read More
Focaccia is terribly delicious; it’s a perfect accompaniment to pasta or soup, and it even makes great afternoon snack. While focaccia can be topped with all kinds of ingredients, we prefer ours rather simple: onions and rosemary scattered on an olive oil-dough flatbread. We even keep the ingredients light to promote nice browning, and the results are a well-flavored bread with a crisp crust. If you’re feeling more adventurous you can try a Meyer lemon-thyme version; Meyer lemons are much sweeter than regular lemons and are a delicious option. If you slice this kind of lemon very thinly, then yes, you can eat the peel.
Zoe did a great post last month on a traditional braided loaf (made with peasant dough). I thought now might be a nice time to do a new video (it’s way at the bottom of this post), showing one of my favorite techniques, the flatbread braid. Flat or traditional tall, these techniques also work great with challah or brioche dough (but you need to bake those lower temp (350F) because of the egg and sweetener in the challah or brioche). As in the photo, you can turn around a straight braid to make a very festive ring, and I topped it with egg wash and poppy seeds. This dough is about 50/50 whole wheat and white flour, which is a wheatier version of the Light Whole Wheat (you don’t have to use the “old” dough). The 50/50 recipe appears in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Read More
The asparagus season is short, and since we’re on the very tail end of it, working it into a flatbread seemed like a good idea. Technically this might just as easily be a pizza, since there is sauce, some cheese, and a heaping of vegetables. Either way, it’s a delicious dinner. The caramelized onion spread is sweet, and adds a nice backdrop of flavor. The asparagus is peeled into ribbons, and this technique helps them bake easily, leaving a tender bite and a subtle flavor. Goat cheese lends just a bit of tang, and if you happen to have chives growing in your garden, topping it all off with chive flowers makes a beautiful presentation.
No matter how big your Thanksgiving feast is or how many people are gathered around your table, chances are there’s more leftovers than you know what to do with. Here is a way to use the extra turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, plus anything else that graced your holiday table and make it into something new. There’s an Italian Torta recipe in Artisan Pizza in Five, but why not swap out the layers for all those leftovers? It is tasty and gorgeous and goes together in a flash if you are cleaning out the fridge of all those half empty containers. Read More
Here in Minneapolis we have been having a heat wave, and while grilling out can be a great way to keep the kitchen cool, some days it’s just too hot to even do that. So we came up with a quick and easy meal to help beat the heat, a dinner that just requires some stove top time and easy prep.
Thanks for being patient with my roasted red pepper obsession. Above, dropping the scorched peppers into a bowl to steam (see last week’s post on roasting your own peppers). But now the embarrassing part: I shot the video on a different day from pepper-roasting time, so I stuffed the fougasse with with tomato and cheese. So it’s really fougasse in the pizza margherita style. But you get the picture, or at least, the video: