Until recently, I’ve been a yeast-avoider. Beguiling pictures of rising bread caught my attention, but yeast in the list of ingredients sent me running for the hills. Too difficult, too complicated, too time-consuming. I had every excuse under the sun until one day I decided it was time to tackle this monster.
I started with quick rising yeast, and you know what? It’s not difficult at all! Nor is it particularly time-consuming. A bit of stopping and starting with the rising dough, but you can easily knock off some small chores in between. The house smells amazing while the dough is rising, and the final product is well worth it. Absolutely delicious.
Mushroom & Smoked Mozzarella Foccacia
Easy peasy! This delectably fragrant and squishily tender flatbread is a crowd pleaser. Makes a wonderful starter or a great side for a salad.
2 c warm water
1 package quick-rising dry yeast
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
520 g (4 1/2 c) bread flour
7 tbsp olive oil, divided into two lots of 3 tbsp and one of 1 tbsp
1 lb (454 g or 16 oz) cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz smoked mozzarella, shredded
In a large bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Stir in 3 tbsp olive oil, the thyme and rosemary, 2 tsp each of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add 2 c of flour, stirring until well combined. Add the remaining flour 1/2 c at a time, stirring well with each addition. You will now have a soft and sticky dough.
Spray a separate large bowl with baking spray. Scrape the dough into it, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm (85°F) place until doubled in size (this takes about an hour).
While the dough is rising, prepare the mushrooms. Warm 3 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet and add the mushrooms. As they begin to release their liquid, sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and sautée the mushrooms until well browned (about 10 minutes). Resist the urge to stir them too frequently or they won’t brown. Add the garlic, sautée for a few more minutes and set aside.
The recipe makes a LOT. I froze half of it and served it at a later date, defrosting and reheating it at the last minute. It was equally delicious as the first lot right out of the oven.
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.
Can’t wait to try this!
Wonderful presentation Helen!
This sounds delish! Might try it next week when my company comes. I have quick rising yeast and love it
This was my first yeast foray and will definitely do this again! Please let me know how yours turns out. 🙂
Helen, making your own bread in the US is a vital skill, given the quality of stuff for sale. I’ve never found anything here worth eating, even for $7 at Whole Paycheck or the local French bakery. San Francisco and NYC are excepted from that condemnation.
You will achieve a much better texture using Tipo 00 flour…the soft-wheat type that Italian nonnas use for pizza, pasta, and bread. I bring a bag or two every winter (might as well; I have an empty bag to bring anyway, which I fill with Swiss chocolate, French candied violets and lilacs, Sicilian bergamot oil and almond extracts, and wonderful intricate German sugar cake decorations).
In addition, you can interrupt the dough’s rise by bunging it in the fridge overnight–no need to hover over it. This results in a slow rising that develops better flavour and texture. For the ultimate bread experience, try growing your own starter!
We are very lucky to have such diverse different cultures living in Toronto, and with it, some fabulous bakeries. In the Cape, not so much; we do have Pain d’Avignon which is quite good. Probably why I got the bread bug while in the US!
Thanks for the tip about refrigerating the dough. I’ve seen people do that with pizza dough – buy it the day before and bake it later.
A fun new culinary adventure!