Trying to Be Trendy: Focaccia Art
You all know I love bread. For Christmas, I made focaccia. It was so delicious I was asked make another batch for Easter, and I am very happy to do so. Home made bread can be amazing in its own simplicity. Here is the focaccia recipe I use. As you can see there is nothing fancy about it. With just yeast, water, flour sugar salt, oil and a very simple technique, a delicious bread can be created as if by magic! (Okay, we all know it is actually science, but to non-DIYeters it looks like magic)
Recently, the interweb has been flooded with pictures of focaccia loaves decorated with vegetables and herbs arranged in patterns- flower gardens, mandalas, forest scenes. Do an image search for “focaccia art” and you will see what I mean. It looks too good to be true! Is it too good to be true? I had to at least try the process for myself.
First I made the dough. The method is simple- proof the yeast with sugar in warm water, mix the oil and salt, then combine it all with flour in a mixer. You could definitely do this all by hand, too. (Pssssst! If you don’t quite have the confidence or the time or the equipment or the physical stamina to make your own dough you can buy a ball of pizza dough from the grocery store or your favorite local bakery. Nobody will know, I swear. )
After spreading the dough out on a jelly roll pan for a second rise, I got my decorations together. I used some multi-colored cherry tomatoes, finely cut broccoli fleurets, and a thinly sliced green onion. I laid out what I thought were some nice flower shapes with the tomato slices.
With the oven heated and the dough puffed up as directed in the recipe, I got artsy. I made a little grassy knoll with the broccoli. Then I arranged the green onion into stems and leaves. Finally I transferred my tomato blossoms to the dough. I pressed the veggies into the dough firmly, but not so much as to deflate the dough. It all looked fine…so far.
If you have never fallen down the rabbit hole of “Pinterest Fails”, you may not be aware of the calamity that can ensue between shaping and decorating a loaf of bread and removing said loaf from the oven. I put my focaccia into the oven and went about cleaning up the kitchen.
Thirty minutes later I realized I should have checked the oven five minutes before. Besides being a little extra toasty, however, the flower pattern still looked good. I declare that this focaccia art trend is based in fact. A fun vegetable picture on a loaf is, in deed, achievable.
I am very glad I tried making focaccia art. I am also really excited to share this pretty pretty loaf with my family tomorrow. I am definitely going to make more of these. I will also most certainly pay better attention to my oven next time. What is the most unexpectedly-not-a-camera-trick thing you’ve created in your kitchen? Share in the comments!