Monday, January 15, 2007

Asiago and Balsamic Caramelised Onion Focaccia

OCT shuddered when I told him that focaccia was part of the menu last week. Because the last time I attempted to make focaccia, it took us forever to finish it. Moreover, it was not really a success. (at least that's what OCT thought) .

the focaccia I baked 2 weeks ago, and took us forever to finish....

But I determinely like focaccia, and endeavour to bake a killer batch one day. I even borrowed a book on how to bake bread from the library. It's sitting prominently on my apartment floor. I will read it from front to back on one fateful day...

But before that, I made a simple focaccia, adapted from Cookinglight magazine. And I halved the recipe this time, so that we could finish it in 2 days. Interestingly, this small batch seems more manageable compared to the past batches I made. It worked out nice for us, since even the half batch can feed 4 people. So, I could even tear some to snack on before dinner.

I baked it in a 9-inch cake pan, which it rose up nicely. However, the texture of the focaccia was a bit too soft for my liking. I prefer the chewy type. But the soft texture suited OCT's taste, so he didn't complaint this time.

Asiago and Balsamic Caramelised Onion Focaccia
Adapted from Dec 2006 Cookinglight

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons honey, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/4 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 17 ounces), divided
Cooking spray
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Asiago cheese

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1 tablespoon honey, and thyme; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cool completely.
Dissolve yeast and remaining 1 tablespoon honey in 1 1/4 cups warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add onion mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 3 1/2 cups flour to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Gently press dough into a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Sprinkle dough with cheese. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on rack.

Note: I halved the recipe.

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