Focaccia

Another gift on the front porch! My friend, Chris, dropped off 5 pounds of Caputo “00” flour fresh off the boat from Italy.  We are actually planning a pizza extravaganza to recreate what we learned at the Mozza Scuola di Pizza.  We might even make our own mozzarella.  Stayed tuned!

Caputo 00 flour is really good for pizza dough because, it’s finely ground, and has a lower gluten content than most flours. The “00” refers to the texture of the flour: Italian flours are classified by numbers according to how finely they are ground, from the roughest ground “tipo”1, to 0, and the finest 00.

Gluten is the natural protein that stays when starch is removed from wheat grains, creates the elasticity of bread. The lower the protein content of the flour, the lower the gluten, and the lower the gluten, the less elasticity there will be in your dough (cake flour has the lowest gluten level). Gluten levels are controlled by selecting different strands of wheat for processing: high-gluten bread flour is made from wheat that has 14-15% gluten. Meanwhile, the Caputo 00 is made from a selection of the finest grains the Caputo family can find to give your dough just enough, but not too much, stretch at 12.5% gluten.  You can buy Caputo “00” flour here on Amazon.

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Focaccia

1 1/2 cups water
4 Tbs olive oil
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry active yeast

Add the water and olive oil, then cover the liquid with flour . Add the salt (half each in two corners), then make small well in the middle of the flour and add the yeast. Start the dough cycle, which will last for roughly 90 minutes.
Coat an oval or square metal baking dish, roughly 9″ x 13″ and 2″-3″ deep liberally with olive oil.

Take your dough and gently stretch it until it is roughly the shape of you pan, lay it in the pan, and push it into the corners to fit. Giggle the pan back and forth to make sure the bottom of the dough is coated and slides smoothly. Cover and let rest of an hour, or until it has risen by half.

Push down an interesting pattern of indentations using your fingers, coat the top with yet more olive oil to fill the indentations, and bake in a moderately hot brick oven. If your fire is bright and your dome hot, you might want to wait for it to cool down.
Depending on your oven temperature, your focaccia should cook for somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes.

Variations:
Parmesan and rosemary — knead the cheese and herbs into the dough after the last one hour rise.
Gray salt and pickle red pepper
Fresh sage
Olive tapenade
Mixed olives
Grilled onion
Grilled zucchini and cherry tomatoes
Potato
Potato, onion and leek
Dried tomato and pin nuts
Thyme and gray salt
Mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil

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