Tag Archives: bread

Cooking: Foccacia

This was one of my favorite things to snack on while living in Italy. This bread is rustic, hearty, and flavorful. If it seems labor intensive, be assured it is not nearly as labor intensive as most homemade breads.


1 1/2 C warm water

1 package active dry yeast

1 tsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 3/4 C all-purpose flour

5 TB extra-virgin olive oil

Desired toppings: Kosher or sea salt, dried oregano, dried rosemary, red pepper flakes, drained olives (chopped), drained sun-dried tomatoes (chopped), etc.


In a large bowl, combine 1/2 C warm water, yeast and sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 C warm water, 2 TB oil, salt, and flour, then stir to combine. Turn dough onto floured surface & knead about 7 minutes (kneading feels like it takes forever, but this step is so important and does make a difference in your foccacia’s texture!). Dough should be soft; do not add more flour. Shape dough into a ball; place in a greased, large bowl, turning dough once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap (I also through a dish towel over that) and let stand in warm place for 1 hour.

Dough should be doubled in volume! Then, and this is my favorite part, punch that dough right in the center. Lightly oil a 15.5″ by 10.5″ (inches) jelly roll pan. Pat dough into the pan, then cover again and let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

With fingertips, make deep indentations about 1 inch apart over the entire surface of the dough, almost to the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with remaining 3 TB olive oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let it rise in warm place for 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Then, add your desired toppings! I always do salt, dried rosemary, and sometimes dried oregano, because that method is extremely popular with my guinea pigs, it’s how I ate foccacia in Italy, and why mess with a great thing?



Bake foccacia on lowest oven rack until the bottom is crusty and top is lightly browned, about 18 minutes. Transfer foccacia to a wire rack to cool, but not completely. Then grab a glass of wine and enjoy this bit of comforting fabulousness.


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Camera: Wedding Bread

My cousin gets married today. A tradition among the Macedonians is the wedding bread dance. My Baba put great care into making Samantha’s wedding bread from scratch, and I was fortunate enough to photograph the baking session:

Weighing out the dough…

Rolling out the ropes…

The ropes are braided…

Then nestled in a round pan, and set to rise…

The risen bread is brushed with egg-wash and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

And now: everybody dance! This will give you some idea of what the experience is:

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The potato saga continues…

So, Friday was the loaded baked potato bar day at my mom’s school.  She was in charge of the baked potatoes, so she got up Friday morning and baked off 42 potatoes.  Then school was cancelled because of icy streets.  Yeah.  My family was stuck with 42 baked potatoes.  Mama made a massive pot of loaded baked potato soup, which was divine, but we cannot get through it all.  Then, she scooped out the innards of the remaining potatoes and froze the skins for loaded potato skins to enjoy during the Super Bowl, which the Colts will win.  Now, all we had left was a large bowl of potato guts, defiantly taking up too much room in the fridge.  So, yesterday I made mashed potato rolls.  Now, they aren’t the most perfect-looking rolls, but oh-my-goodness are they buttery, oh-so-soft, and delicious.

Potato Rolls

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

2/3 cup room-temperature butter

1 cup mashed potatoes (not instant; real stuff makes a difference!)

2-1/2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs

2 packages (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast

1-1/3 cups warm water, divided

6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and the butter.  Add potatoes, salt and eggs.  In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 2/3 cup of the warm water; add to creamed mixture.  At this point, your batter may look strange.  Beat in 2 cups of flour and the remaining warm water.  Continue to add flour until a soft dough forms.  Shape it into a ball; do not knead.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down; roll scoops of dough into balls and arrange in either 9-inch round baking pans, a greased jelly roll pan, or a glass baking dish.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.  Bake the rolls at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the pans to cool on wire racks.  This recipe yields about 45 rolls, depending on the size you make them.

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