Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
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A 12 episode documentary series following 5 startup companies competing in the 2013 San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield as they fine tune their products and eventually present in front of a panel of judges in hopes of winning $50,000 in funding.
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Rebecca: This oven baked Italian flat bread is related to pizza. Hi, Rebecca Brayton and welcome to watchmojo.com and today, baker Mark Andre is here is going to show us how to make a traditional Focaccia.
Mark: These are the ingredients we’ll be using. Start with three and a quarter cups all purpose flour, teaspoon and a half of dry yeast, two teaspoons of sea salt, two cups of room temperature water, a quarter cup of olive oil, for the garnish, we’re going to have fresh rosemary, fleur de sel, corn meal to put under the dough and some freshly cracked pepper.
We’ll start by combining all that dry ingredients, the yeast into the flour, sea salt, mix it all well. Make sure they use to spread out everywhere as well as the salt. You can use your hands or you can just start with a wooden spoon. Once that’s all combined, we’ll add our liquids, start with the water and then the oil.
Now this is the messy part. Start mixing. It’s good to keep a bit of extra water and a bit of flour on hand. In this case, it’s a little wet, so we’ll be adding some flour. At this point, once the dough starts to hold together, you will want to take it out of the bowl and start the full kneading process.
It’s always a matter of flattening the dough, rolling it, flipping it over. This kneading technique applies to any sort of bread dough whether we’re making white dough, brown dough, rye bread, anything that has yeast in it and flour. So you want to pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. After about 10, 12 minutes of kneading the dough, you want to prepare your bowl some oil. This is so the dough can rest and rise. The oil will keep it from sticking onto the sides, so it will puff up nicely.
So we’ll just turn it a couple of times. Make sure it’s nice and smooth. Notice how it’s much smoother than when we began 12 minutes ago. Shape it into a ball, flip it over, pinch the edges. Bring it together and put the seam on the under side. Put it on a bowl. Put a dish cloth over the bowl or some plastic wrap. I'm going to let it sit for at least an hour until it’s doubled in bulk.
Find a warm, damp spot in the house. A good spot is either above your clothes dryer or on top of the fridge in the kitchen. So now our dough has doubled and bulk. We’re going to need to pour out onto our floured work surface so we can flatten it and then put it onto the baking sheet.
So it’s important to press down but not stretch the dough. You want to press it down and gently get it to the size and shape you want. So now our oven is hot, 425 degrees. Our dough has been stretched out, pulled to the size we want so it fits in our baking sheet. We’re going to prepare the sheet, we got a parchment paper.
Well the corn meal at the bottom helps give it a bit of crunch to simulate a bit of a -- if you're cooking it directly on a pizza stove. So I'm going to transfer the dough. Stretch it a little, but always very gently across it to cover your sheet. Now it’s ready to garnish.
This is where you do the signature marks on the focaccia. Now this is fleur de sel which is a really nice delicate salt. Rock salt could also be used and the freshly cracked pepper is generally an optional ingredient but I really like a fresh cracked pepper on there, now the rosemary.
Some people like a lot of it, some like a little bit. Other herbs could be use. You could put fresh basil in here. But the basil leaves might crisp a little too much in the oven. You could put thyme or oregano. Now this baby is ready to bake. We’re going to put it in there for 15-20 minutes. After 15 minutes take a look if it starts to get a nice and golden and it puffs up nicely, it’s ready.
And then you can choose to go darker, depends on herbs you used. In the case of rosemary, 20 minutes should be good. The top is starting to color. We’ll take it out before it dries out too much.
Rebecca: One nice way of serving the focaccia is with a homemade bruschetta or you can drizzle it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for perfect pairing.