January 15, 2005


focaccia, originally uploaded by drmomentum.

I’ve been experimenting with focaccia lately. I’ve taken a basic recipe from Alton Brown and added herbs, basically making a tea out of them before cooking the 1/2 cup of corn meal which gives the bread some body.

If you click the image, you will be able to view the annotations on Flickr.

Posted by James at January 15, 2005 10:52 PM
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Jesus that looks good. I love focaccia. Yum.

Posted by: Chuck S. at January 15, 2005 11:51 PM

As I'm getting good at it, I will be glad to make one to share with you next time you're in town, Chuck.

Posted by: James at January 16, 2005 2:17 AM

That does look good. I may just have to do some baking today.

Posted by: Mark at January 16, 2005 12:10 PM

It is good, even when photographed at a jaunty angle.

Posted by: Julie at January 16, 2005 3:48 PM

I looked at the picture and immediately wondered if you were back to baking. That looks delicious. I'll have to make a list of requests for when I am in town. :)

Posted by: briwei at January 16, 2005 5:27 PM

You wondered correct. I've never actually stopped baking, but I've ramped it up lately. Especially with the focaccia, because it is so popular. And filling.

Posted by: James at January 16, 2005 5:33 PM

ooo, that looks so tasty.

Hey, I'll probably be in sometime this week to see the Kaput movie. I don't know if I will make it for Super Tuesday, but possibly.

Posted by: Sara at January 16, 2005 6:17 PM

I'll look forward to it!

Posted by: James at January 16, 2005 7:15 PM

When Bob was diagnosed with celiac, I thought that would be the end of bread baking in our house. Not so. He makes a terriffic GF focaccia. In fact, I wish I were eating some right now. Instead, I'm sitting here at the office, collecting paper boxes, and wondering how I'm going to wrestle them onto the T and then the train. We have to finish packing the kitchen tonight--demo dudes arrive tomorrow.

Anyone want to come and pack up my dishes? Big fun!

Posted by: Patti M. at January 17, 2005 11:21 AM

That looks yummy james...

Posted by: Jay at January 17, 2005 11:33 AM

I'd like to learn some good GF baking recipes, as well. Everything you've ever brought to our house has been delicious, most notably the apple crisp and the pizza.

It seems to me like crepes would be a natural for a gf variation. You don't want gluten in them, and I think their integrity relies more on the egg protein. I'll have to look that up.

Posted by: James at January 17, 2005 12:56 PM

Hey james have you used that King Arthur "White Wheat Flour" that's out there now?
If so I was wondering what you thought of it.

I've used it in pizza dough so far and thought it was good. But you seem to bake lots and lots! So maybe you've experimented with it...

Posted by: Jay at January 18, 2005 2:50 PM

Hey, that pizza wasn't even the best one he's made (no insult intended, Bob). The easy thing about a lot of GF recipes is that you can make them with GF mixes.

Unlike the typical nasty mix, e.g., Betty Crocker cake mix with unpronounceable icky ingredients, these mixes are crap-free. This is not to say they are easy. For example, the #40 French Bread & Pizza Mix ingredients are: Rice flour, potato starch, cornstarch, crystallized honey, guar gum, salt.

I, for one, will probably never attempt to make pie dough--it's hard to work with.

There are recipes in cookbooks that call for a wide variety of different ingredients (yes, we have xanthan gum in our baking supply cabinet), and sometimes those recipes are the ones to use. For many things, the mixes are just fine.

Listen to me--you'd think _I_ was the one doing all the baking! I'll let Bob chime in here, if he so wishes.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 18, 2005 3:00 PM

Ok, so I misplaced an entire sentence. The pie dough is difficult to work with, and the French bread mix is crap-free

Posted by: Patti M. at January 18, 2005 3:18 PM


I've used 2 of the varieties of King Arthur flour in my travels. The Unbleached White and the Special Bread flour.

Unbleached white is a great all-around flour, and I do seem to get better results when I use it for pizza dough rather than using another all-purpose flour. Even better is their "Special Bread" flour, which is high in gluten (essential for traditional pizza dough). It's pricey, and I find that Gold Medal has a decent just-for-bread flour as well.

Basically, if you can get a higher gluten flour, you'll be happier with the bread it makes. King Arthur White is higher than other All Purpose flours, but special for-bread flours are evn higher.

Posted by: James at January 18, 2005 3:41 PM

We get the Baker's Catalog from King Arthur.

Check out the website and, if you want, request a catalog.


Posted by: Patti M. at January 18, 2005 3:52 PM

I think I got what you were saying. Pie dough in general is a little touchy to work with. It relies a lot on certain ingredients not mixing too much.

The properties and uses of flour are so complex it is amazing how they can be substituted for. Of course, if I were a celiac sufferer, or Maggie was, it would become my hobby.

Posted by: James at January 18, 2005 4:23 PM

I think what Patti was getting at with the pie dough is it is extremely hard to work with. It would much rather stick to anything else (rolling pin, marble, wax paper, saran wrap, you) than itself.

To make a pie crust I need to:
1)mix the ingredients (I have in the past used a mixer but I've recently discovered by hand works better)
2) refrigerate ball of dough for at least 1 hour (warm GF dough is like glue)
3) lay down a layer of saran wrap on our marble pastry board
4) put some of the dough on the wrap
5) sprinkle with GF flour
6) cover with wax/parchment paper
7) carefully roll out bottom crust
8) stick bottom crust in fridge
9) repeat 3-8 for top crust
10) wait 10-15 minutes
11) remove saran wrap, put top crust in pie dish, carefully pressing into place
12) back in fridge for 10-15 more minutes
13) carefully remove wax paper
14) finally fill bottom crust
15) peel saranwrap off top crust
16) put top crust in place
17)carefully peel off wax paper and press edges together
18) bake

It sounds worse than it is but I definately miss the days of gluten. It all goes much better with a good stiff drink.

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at January 18, 2005 5:16 PM


Posted by: Patti M. at January 18, 2005 5:25 PM


Have ou ever tried a canvas pastry cloth working surface? Also, a cloth covering for the rolling pin? I get generally good results from these tools. Wax paper us mostly useless as it will stick to anything wet.

Posted by: James at January 18, 2005 5:27 PM

Working with GF pie dough is like being in bizarro land. What you think will work probably will not.

That having been said, his pie crust is delicious.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 18, 2005 5:31 PM

King Arthur sells a device I think I will try. It's basically two round sheets of plastic of some sore with a zipper connecting them/ You just zip in some dough and roll to fill the plastic.

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at January 19, 2005 11:04 AM

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