I was looking for a quick bread (not a quickbread) to make for my book club this afternoon. Unfortunately, my "official" recipe for the next section of The Modern Baker Challenge (marbled brioche) requires a lemon, which I didn't have.
I came upon ham and cheese focaccia, did the time math in my brain, and decided it would be perfect for a lunch-time bookclub. Besides, my hubby loves anything that includes bread, meat, and cheese.
The dough mixed together quickly and easily: all-purpose flour, salt, instant yeast, water, and olive oil. And then it doubled easily in an hour.
Knowing that N.M.'s doughs usually seem quite wet, and having just read about Phyl's adventures with very wet babka dough, I used a heavy hand when flouring my counter to shape the dough. The dough stretched into a rectangle fairly easily. And then I went to drop the fillings on half of my rectangle.
I can't believe how much meat and cheese he calls for: 350 grams of each! Because I hadn't shopped for this recipe, I just used what we had on-hand in the fridge: shredded mozerella, parmesan, and romano (350 grams total) and 250 grams of salami. Even though I was short on the amount of toppings, there still seemed to be so much. When I went to fold the second half of the dough over, there was no way it was going to fit. N.M. says to do it without stretching the dough. I sure didn't feel like I was stretching it, but it didn't matter; the dough just started to shred. After transferring the dough to the pan, I tried to gently stretch it to fill the pan, and again it shredded. There were a ton of bare toppings, and I could see that the dough was pulling apart on the bottom, too, and there were some bare batches of pan.
It smelled wonderful while baking, and the taste was . . . fine. Good, even. As hubby said, "You can't even really taste the bread; it just seems to be a vehicle for the meat and cheese." Hubby ate the third I left for him, and my book club devoured the other part. But with a never-fail, always-amazing focaccia recipe in my repertoire, I won't be making this one again.