Focaccia: Type 00/Unbleached White Flour, Kneaded

Focaccia: Type 00/Unbleached White Flour

I like bread machines for kneading dough. I had my last one about 10 years and never baked a bread in it, although I used it about 2 times a week. I used it as dedicated equipment for kneading. Don't have to clean the bowl when finished and it works tirelessly. It can also be programmed to pop out your pizza dough as you come in the house. When I tried using it to knead a lump of pasta dough, I destroyed it. Pasta dough can be pretty tough. Another failed experiment in the culinary sciences.

Recently, I bought some type 00 flour. I used King Arthur's brand, which is milled in the states to the same specifications of its Italian counterpart. Type 00 is milled to very fine particle size. The resulting bread doughs are very stretchy and particularly good for wafer thin pizza. The only downside I've noticed is bread dough derived from it tends to be a bit sticky. Sticky dough, in the early stages of kneading, can cause one to add too much flour and create too dry a dough.

One way around a sticky dough is to use a bread machine. The dough cycles on these things are long and efficient. You can watch the dough pass from a slack, sticky mess into a more developed, resilient dough without adding any additional flour.

For this focaccia, I used 1/2 unbleached white (225 g) and 1/2 type 00 (225 g). The rest of the ingredients are about the same as my pizza dough. Liquid used was water (150 g) and milk (150 g), honey (20 g), salt (7 g), instant active dry yeast (1 packet) and let the dough cycle take over. 1.5 hours later, I popped it out, squashed it down for a 10 minute rest and then formed it into a 10"x14" (or so) rectangle on a dark, porcelain covered steel pan, covered it in olive oil, speckled with coarse salt and added rosemary and let it proof about 20 minutes. I docked the surface with my fingers and baked it (425F convection) for 30 minutes (oops, about 5 minutes too long). It had a beautifully light interior. I was kicking myself for overcooking it but am inspired to repeat it.

I'll give a link for the type 00 flour, it's not too expensive - even with shipping. Comes in 2 lb bags and also can be purchased at Carfagna's.