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The NYC Food Bloggers Mailing List, and Dave’s Garlic Focaccia

I have put together a NYC Food Bloggers Mailing List. If you are a food blogger who lives in or around NYC, please subscribe to the mailing list here. We can use this to announce further potlucks, parties, classes, sales, tastings, and any other events local food bloggers might enjoy and are invited to attend.

Please spread the word, because the more NYC food bloggers sign up for this mailing list, the better our potlucks will be.

Thank you.

Dave makes this bread again and again, always disappointed, always trying to perfect it. I dutifully taste each incarnation, each perfect, and each better than the last.

It was a hit at the recent NYC Food Blogger Potluck, and I had to promise a few people that I would post the recipe. Here it is. Your compliments made Dave’s week, and I thank you, because I love watching him glow like that.

He is holding the bread in the top photo, while rubbing the fluffy white underbelly of our household floofin’, Katya.

Dave’s Garlic Focaccia
The recipe is found in the narrative below, in Dave’s own words.

Take 150 g flour and 1 C water and 1/4 tsp yeast. Mix well, leave overnight.

Chop the top off a head of garlic. Wrap it in a couple layers of aluminum foil, and pour in some olive oil. Roast it at 375 for 45 minutes, or until soft but not burned.

Squeeze out the garlic. Take the oil from the garlic and add enough olive oil to make 1/4 C. Add this, the squeezed-out garlic, 250 g flour, 1 tsp yeast, and 1 tsp salt to the starter. I found the dough too soft and sticky to knead on a counter, so I kneeded it in my hands. I did it unidirectionally — squeeze and stretch the dough to form a log, then fold the log like a letter, and repeat until it feels right.

[actually, last time I used the mixer and a dough hook and it was fine]

Allow it to double in the usual fashion. Optionally, refridgerate it overnight. This will produce a more sour flavor.

Shape the dough into a flat loaf — no more than 1 inch high. Allow to rise until it stops — when you poke it with a finger, it won’t bounce back. While it’s doing this, heat oven to 550 for an hour to heat your baking stone. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, with an initial blast of steam (basically, throw a cup of water at the bottom of your oven and close the door quickly). Flip it over at 10 minutes to toast the top.

Let it cool on a wire rack. This step is important — otherwise, steam will destroy the crust.

Note: Sometimes Dave brushes the top of the bread with olive oil and then sprinkles on some chopped up garlic, ground black pepper, and/or a nice, crunchy salt.

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13 Responses to “The NYC Food Bloggers Mailing List, and Dave’s Garlic Focaccia”

  1. tw says:

    A few thoughts occur to me straight away.

    1. Get a plant sprayer – tossing water at your oven like that will make it warp. Also, an hour of pre-heat seems like a very very conservative timeline. Half an hour will likely be enough.

    2. If it’s too sticky to knead well by hand, I would use the dough hook. I know it feels weird not to do it hands on – I recently started using my mixer to knead, because I’m using doughs that are just too wet to knead by hand, and though I know intellectually that it’s the right thing to do, I’m not overjoyed.

    3. You might be happier with the texture if you kneaded in 2 stages. First, mix the flour into the starter on low speed, mixing just till it comes together. Cover the bowl loosely and walk away for 20 minutes. Add salt and yeast, knead on high speed (this is #2 on a kitchenaid – you really, really shouldn’t use the dough hook at speeds higher than #2) for 90-120 seconds, till it’s cleaning the bowl nicely. This gives the gluten a chance to develop fully – which it won’t in the presence of oil. Now add oil and garlic, and knead on low till they’re incorporated.

    4. I don’t know enough about how you’re shaping it to be able to comment usefully.

  2. novalis says:

    I do use the dough hook sometimes — depends on how I’m feeling. I’ll probably use it more in the future because it seems to do as well and is quicker.

    I like suggestion 3 a lot.

    I’m shaping it by pouring gently out of the rising bowl onto parchment paper on a peel, then dimpling and pushing outwards with my fingertips, then waiting ten or so minutes and doing it again.

  3. Yvo says:

    Ooh my goodness, that looks delicious. My stomach is grumbling loudly at that picture. Yum!!!

    Too bad my stupid oven just decided to call it quits.

  4. ejm says:

    I’m with TW on both the preheating time and the plant sprayer. I liberally spray water directly on the risen dough just before putting it in the oven. (I used to put a broiling pan filled with water placed under our stone that would preheat with the stone. This nicely filled the oven with steam too – and because the broiling pan is designed to be used empty, it never suffered much damage as it sat in the oven the whole baking time. I stopped using the broiling pan method simply because I was lazy.)

    Very interesting that you put the roasted garlic directly into the dough! Have you tried putting slices of garlic and olive oil on top of the focaccia? We usually add sliced onions and a bit of olive oil – they get beautifully caramelized.

    The other thing you might like to try is adding a small amount of whole wheat flour to the dough – it lends a lovely nutty flavour to the bread.


  5. ejm says:

    excuse me for commenting twice in succession…

    in re: hand kneading wet dough

    Personally, I love the challenge of kneading wet dough. I turn it with a dough scraper and kind of scrabble and pull at it with the other hand for about 10 minutes. It’s usually still pretty soupy at that point but I somehow pour it into the rising bowl and cover it to sit on the counter. Then 20 minutes later, using a brilliant technique I learned from reading “Artisan Baking Across America” by Maggie Glezer, I pour out the dough onto a very lightly floured board and gently fold it (as best I can) like an envelope. Back into the rising bowl it goes for another 20 minutes. I repeat the process twice more and invariably on the 3rd time, the dough is still very soft but it has become quite smooth and pillow like. I cover it and then leave it alone to finish rising.


    P.S. The reason I’ve never resorted to using a dough hook is that I don’t have one (unless you call my hands dough hooks. :^))

  6. Thanks for posting! I can’t wait to try it.

  7. Danielle says:

    Thanks for the ideas, guys! I’m sure this will fuel the next few versions of Dave’s bread, at least.

  8. Bakerina says:

    Well, I think that’s a gorgeous focaccia, but I also understand the feeling of wanting to hit a certain standard formed in your mind’s eye, and being disappointed when the resulting bread, lovely as it is, doesn’t quite hit that standard.

    Still think that’s a perfectly gorgeous loaf, though. Mercy. :)

    I would second Elizabeth’s comment about the turning-of-the-dough truc she found in Artisan Baking Across America. Back in my bakery-planning days (now behind me, at least for now), I took a pair of week-long intensive classes at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Vermont, where we were taught to mix doughs to a rough shag, decant them into tubs, turn them out and fold/turn them twice in 30-minute increments, and then let them finish fermenting. It was always something to see: firm, rough, shaggy doughs would smooth right out; while loose, wet doughs would acquire more structure and spring, even as they remained soft. (One note: This fabulous trick does not work on brioche, where the amount of butter and egg necessitates mixing to full gluten development in the mixer.)

    Did I mention that that’s a fine-looking focaccia, there? :)

  9. Su Good Eats says:

    Food bloggers’ potluck…

    Put 10 food bloggers in a room, and you get one of the most delicious potlucks ever. On Oct. 21, Danielle of Habeas Brulee hosted a food bloggers’ potluck in her Brooklyn home.
    Danielle and her partner Dave were gracious hosts, respecting every…

  10. mr.ed says:

    For years, I’ve bought garlic when on sale (last time 99 cents#) and peeled it, then tossed it with some EVOO and spread it onto an air-bake pan. Into the oven at 300 for about 45 minutes until golden, then cooled and into the freezer. A constant supply of mild, roasted garlic that softens beautifully as it thaws. I will try to bring some to novalis’s mom when we go for a visit.

  11. Florian says:

    I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog :-)
    Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day :)

  12. [...] Breads Garlic Focaccia Scallion (Spring Onion) Bread [...]

  13. OMG that looks good. : )

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