2 Weeks in Review - Easy Focaccia, Field Blend #2, Toasted Sesame, and Pizza
The past few weeks I’ve had a chance for some good weekend baking, and below are the latest results.
I started off on a school night trying Kenji’s take on focaccia, not so much for the recipe composition as the easy technique (simple overnight rise, baked in a cast iron pan). The results were surprisingly good – really nice crust & crumb, 1 to 2 inches thick, easy to slice in half for sandwiches. The crumb flavor was a bit bland/simple – not unexpected with an instant yeast build, a bit like Jim Lahey’s no knead bread – so I might experiment a bit with a longer retard process in the fridge and/or introducing some levain, but for a “night before,” easy bread to go with a dinner or sandwiches, this was a very good method.
Next I made a batch of Field Blend #2, from FWSY, as I’m trying to get more into rye recipes, and this was an easy step. Loved the flavor and crumb of this bread – I made a double batch and gave it to friends who similarly raved. I’m starting to understand the complexity (and stickiness) rye adds, which is fun.
I then built on the Field Blend #2 recipe by adding toasted sesame seeds, inspired a fellow TFL user (I think) and his great, if dormant blog. The results were stellar – one of my favorite loafs in a while – as I really loved the flavor and dimension added by the toasted sesame seeds. It takes everything is different direction than my normal levain breads – nutty and savory – I think it would be amazing toasted with cheese. I’m going to keep on this one, and will try adding toasted sesame into other breads to see how it goes (bonus: it’s much easier to make and incorporate sesame seeds than some of the poridges I’ve been trying).
One further note, I baked these loafs free form on my baking steel. It produces really great oven spring (and I was heating it up for pizza later, so it was efficient). One thing I have to watch, though, is over cooking the bottom of the loaves – they got a bit darker than I might normally like, which I suppose is because of how efficient steel conducts heat, but was curious if others had a similar experience? Could be as easy as inserting something in between halfway through the bake, perhaps…
Wrapped up the week with some pizzas on said baking steel, and [for fun, another batch of habanero hot sauce (if only because I put it on almost everything, including the pizza…)
Cheers from the Pac Northwest