This week’s posts are brought to you by the unprecedentedly large amount of money I spent at the grocery store today. (I was forced to buy overly pricey organic spinach-arugula mix because there was no normal arugula, and I also had to buy non-poisonous fabric cleaner… I won’t say why. And also, swiss chard. And fuck you, delicious feta cheese. And enormous five-pound bag of whole-wheat flour that I bought because I think the old bag had gone rancid [thus a possible explanation for the badness of my Irish soda bread]).
So anyway, the first part of this week’s cooking is stuffed focaccia, courtesy of The Iron You, which I found through The Kitchn. (I LOVE the title of The Iron You—I haven’t read much of it but basically they use food and exercise to make themselves into superheroes. That’s my goal in life, too.) You may notice that I am procrastinating from cooking by adding tons of links to this post.
Back to business. I first made the dough so I could leave it to rise while I did other things (i.e. started dinner and the next post(s)). I proofed the yeast (combined it with warm water, sugar, and salt) and then added 600 g of w.w. flour, measured in my lovely kitchen scale, and the olive oil. I mixed it with a wooden spoon and was very worried about the fact that it wasn’t sticky—whole-wheat flour just seems to drink up any moisture. (My friend who is in pastry school says this is normal—whole-wheat flour is just really dry—but since the recipe was written for whole-wheat flour it was worrisome.)
I kneaded for a while, on tip-toes, whole-bodily, for maybe five or seven minutes, until I decided to stop. I have no idea if it was smooth and elastic. It was easy to knead, though, because of the relative dryness. Now it’s sitting in a bowl, covered in more olive oil, rising away. Possibly.
Meanwhile, I’m assembling my fillings. The recipe called for sun-dried tomatoes, but I vetoed that; I’m doing the feta (and arugula/spinach instead of just arugula, which was NOT what I wanted, but there were no other options). I’m also doing a white-bean dip, because when I was thinking about what I would add if this were to just be a regular sandwich I came up with hummus, and then I went from there to white beans. I don’t remember why. I just mixed some white beans and other stuff together in my food processor, and it looks disgusting. I also did something really stupid and added sesame seeds (I was all, it’ll be like tahini! and then it’ll be like hummus! but obviously it’s not because they didn’t really pulverize). I am becoming hungry and crabby.
It’s now been more than an hour and a half and it has definitely doubled in size, but I am taking an extended break for dinner.
Update: It is now the next day, and apparently I never finished writing this post. I was just going through and adding pictures and then came to the end.
Anyway, it rose, and I poked it.
I then divided it in half, oiled the baking pan (with my fingers and vegetable oil), and stretched out half the dough. It was ridiculously easy—I thought I would be terrible at it, but it basically just stretched itself into the exact shape I wanted. I spread some of the white-bean dip all over it, and then added the arugula/spinach mixture and crumbled some feta cheese on top.
I sort of thought it would be too little greens and too much feta, and I was entirely right, but I didn’t want to overload the greens in case I couldn’t get the second half of focaccia on top. I rolled out the rest of the dough (with my rolling pin), stuck it on top, and crimped the edges together, artlessly.
And it baked, voila. Oh, I completely forgot and/or didn’t bother to do the last step, which is to put olive oil, water, and salt on top and make indentations with your fingers. I was also out of olive oil. I regret this now.
The focaccia is good… for whole-wheat focaccia (which I think is exactly what every whole-wheat baker tries to avoid). There was this one great crispy bit that had sort of fried in the oil on the baking sheet, though.
And also, this is not adequate for lunch. For the rest of the week I’m going to stuff more green things in, and possibly more white-bean dip. The bread-filling ratio is more suited for snack than lunch. Yum, though.