Sunday, October 3, 2010

Modern Baker Challenge: Ham and Cheese Focaccia

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.


  1. It looks lovely. Sometimes it is fun to try a new recipe just so you can sit back on your heels and say, "Oh, yeah, the recipe I already have is so much better." Sometimes.

  2. I had the exact same experience as you. I found that there was an awful lot of meat and cheese filling (and found it quite salty!) This bread is my 'official' post for the MB so I am going to try it again and hope for better results. (If not for that fact, like you - I'd probably never try it again.) Your bread does look delicious though! I may have to try your "never fail always amazing recipe".

  3. Sometimes it takes trying another recipe to appreciate a truly fantastic, go-to recipe!

  4. I just made Mr. Reinhart's focaccia again last week and agree that it can't be beat. This one does look very delicious, however.

  5. Thanks for the heads up on the recipe, it sure does look good though!!!!


    Jaime and Jen Dish

  6. I loved BBAs focaccia too. I'll try to get to this one if I have time. It sounded good, but I don't have a huge need to have cheese and ham on my focaccia either. Just bread is fine with me.