by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez / Thursday, August 18, 2011
Sweet Cherry Focaccia
adapted from Happy Days with the Naked Chef
yield: 1 loaf
just over 1 lb. bread flour + more as needed
just over 1 c. tepid water
14 grams active dry yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. sea salt
17½ oz. sweet cherries, pitted & stemmed
~¼ c. vanilla sugar, divided
¼ c. butter, cut into small pieces
Add water, vanilla sugar, and salt to bread machine pan. Scoop flour on top. Add yeast last. Set to dough cycle and press start. If you're mixing by hand, knead until smooth and pliable and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, ~1 hr.
With the imprecise measurements of "just over", you may need to add more water or flour. If dough seems too dry, knead in a little more water at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it seems too wet, then sprinkle in a bit more flour as you need it. Dough will be smooth, pliable and NOT sticky when it's "right". It's simple and a dream to work with, actually. A very good basic bread recipe.
Toss cherries with 1 Tbs. of the vanilla sugar and set aside.
After the first rise, punch the dough down, then using your fingers, press and pull it out into a large oval or rectangle. I did this directly on an oiled sheet tray. Alternately, you could flour it. I could have gone thinner...it rises so vigorously. If using a half sheet tray (cookie sheet tray), go ahead and press it out all the way to the edges. Then press your cherries into the top of the dough, pushing down with your fingertips all over the top of the dough as you go. Press 'em all the way down to the bottom, this dough is strong...do this for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining vanilla sugar and dot with the butter. Let rise for another 30 minutes, preheating the oven to 350° F during the last 15.
Slide the whole tray into the oven and bake for ~25-35 minutes or until slightly colored and cooked through. Best served slightly warm.
Jamie suggested serving it with some milky coffee...so I did (w/ vanilla sugar in there, as well). Great breakfast or brunch bread. Makes a huge loaf (and this was a halved recipe...you can easily double it for a crowd...just use 2 sheet pans). The loaf itself isn't sweet. It's the cherries, the butter, and the sugar that provide a slight sweetness.
Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.