More focaccia baking pan questions

ncgnet

First, is it OK to use a Pyrex 9/13 dish for focaccia? I would think so, but recently I tried a recipe for cheese focaccia and it was a disaster. I lowered the oven temp by 25 degrees, which is standard practice for using Pyrex instead of metal, and when the baking time was up the bread was quite gooey. So maybe I shouldn't have done that, even after giving it extra time it still seemed undone. Also, I had brushed the pan generously (I thought) with oil, but when it was time to get the bread out it stuck firm. I ended up digging out gooey pieces that were inedible and throwing it all away.

FWIW here is a link to the recipe, though I'm not sure non-subscribers to the Boston Globe can see it:
http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2011/05/25/cheesy_focaccia/

I was thinking of trying KA's blitz bread focaccia recipe but would like to know if I can use the Pyrex dish or if I should get a metal one. (My pizza pan does not have deep sides.) And if I do use the Pyrex dish, should I lower the temperature in the recipe by 25 degrees or keep it as written?

Second, I saw a metal 9x13 baking pan in BB&B but it was black, and I've avoided black bakeware because supposedly it browns things too quickly. What do you think?

Thanks for your advice,
Nancy

badge posted by: ncgnet on June 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm in General discussions
tags: baking, focaccia, pan
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reply by: emmainab on June 21, 2011 at 1:25 am
emmainab

Hi Nancy, I make focaccia often but always on a metal baking sheet (it's well used but not necessarily black). I checked the recipe link you gave and that seems quite thick to be what I consider focaccia. Pan bread maybe or maybe it's personal preference. Another big difference is that the recipe said "the dough will be very wet". I've never made a focaccia recipe with dough that was wet or one that had cheese added right into the dough. I have had great success using Carol Field's recipes from her book "Focaccia". The recipes are from the various regions in Italy.

reply by: ncgnet on June 21, 2011 at 9:26 am
ncgnet

Thanks for your reply.

This was a very wet dough. (I'd used KA's AP flour, and it wasn't humid day.) After I'd let it rise I tried to put in the dimples, and they just closed right up again. I guess that was the first sign of trouble.

Comparing the recipe to KA's Blitz Bread, the thickness in the photos looks about the same. But KA's uses a lot less water and just a little less flour. I like the thick focaccia we get in various restaurants so was hoping to find a recipe to make at home. Hence my question about using Pyrex vs. a metal pan.

reply by: frick on June 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm
frick

I always bake focaccia in a pan with shallow sides. If the bread is much lower than the sides, heat doesn't reach the top sufficiently and it bakes from the bottom only. A half-sheet pan will do. Focaccia should be around an inch thick when baked.

reply by: karen_noll on June 22, 2011 at 3:35 am
karen_noll

Hi Nancy,

I make that Blitz Bread quite often with great results in both a Pyrex pan and a Le Creuset stoneware pan. No sticking, even browning, good results every time using the temp in the recipe. What that bread lacks in developed flavor it makes up for in ease of preparation and versatility. Give it a try, and have fun with it. My favorite combination is to add feta cheese to the dough, and just before it goes into the oven, push some oil-packed sun dried tomato pieces and kalamata olives gently down into the dough (so they don't burn).

good luck,
Karen

reply by: ncgnet on June 22, 2011 at 8:53 am
ncgnet

Karen,

Thanks so much, it is good to know I don't have to buy another piece of kitchen gear, I have so many pans and things already. I'm always tempted though....
I will play around with the recipe as you suggest.

Nancy

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on June 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

Now, how about some dipping oil recipes to go along with that?

reply by: ncgnet on June 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm
ncgnet

I use the one from Not Your Average Joe's, which they post on their web site:
http://www.notyouraveragejoes.com/recipes/nyaj_dip.php

Olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and grated cheese. I think they use romano but I usually have parmesan on hand.

From time to time I even bring a little package of grated parm, red pepper flakes, and dried garlic bits (from Penzeys) and add it to plain olive oil that other restaurants use - only on my own plate, of course.

reply by: karen_noll on June 23, 2011 at 7:01 am
karen_noll

My favorite dipping oil just kind of evolved over time: start with some cold olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat, add a bunch of cracked garlic cloves to infuse the oil, then add salt, and whatever dried herbs you like (I usually use some basil, oregano, tarragon, and thyme). Heat gently for a moment. You can freshen it up with some fresh parsley if you like, or add some heat with red pepper flakes, whatever... Makes a great take-along to a party.

Karen

reply by: cwcdesign on June 23, 2011 at 8:22 am
cwcdesign

Thanks for the link, ncgnet.

We have always loved that dipping oil - often not leaving enough room for dinner! The restaurant started not too far away from us and I never thought about checking the website.

reply by: ncgnet on June 23, 2011 at 9:05 am
ncgnet

You're welcome. NYAJ is one of our favorite restaurants. Even though it has grown to be a small chain the food is so good, freshly prepared, accommodating to special requirements, etc. We have one here in Arlington and often go there for lunch or bring something home for a meal. Or sometimes even both! I didn't realize until I looked for the dipping sauce link that they have expanded their recipe page, will have to go back and look at some of the others.

Nancy

reply by: horses272 on June 24, 2011 at 6:24 am
horses272

I use a half sheet sized baking pan-comes out great!!

reply by: skeptic7 on June 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm
skeptic7

I always use parchment paper when baking focaccia so I don't worry about it sticking. I use a metal roasting pan thats just a little larger than a 9x13 since I like a fat focaccia. I normally bake until its the correct color but I've had to throw things out because they weren't cooked. Good luck with your next attempt. I would try baking until its either notably brown on top or 190 degrees. I would definately use parchment paper since the cheese is likely to make things more sticky.

reply by: elisabethberthasavage on June 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm
elisabethberthasavage

I am sorry your focaccia did not bake thoroughly. That can be so disappointing. I am glad you were able to enjoy some of it. I bake my bread in 4 pyrex 4 1/2 X 8 1/2 pans at one time. I never turn the oven down by 25 degrees or shorten the bake time. I know that is recommended and we tell customers to heed to this advice all the time, but for me, I just bake as usual. My loaves are not dark and bake in the time it should. I recommend you get an oven thermometer for starters if you do not have one already. Your oven may not be getting hot enough when you load your focaccia. The ones that are magnetic are the best. They stick on the back wall of your oven. Next, keep the oven temp and bake times the same. Take the temperature of the bread before you pull it out. It should read around 190 degrees.

If you would like to bake it in a cookie sheet and all you have are dark pans, double the pan up. Use two for greater protection from the heat.

And, yes, I think the blitz recipe from our site would work well for you. The yield is slightly less than the Boston Globe's and should be less thick. You may not have been able to spread out the dough very evenly which is why it baked through in some areas while not others. Good luck! Elisabeth

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on June 28, 2011 at 1:26 am
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

OK, I'm going to go for the blitz tomorrow.

I have some carmelized onions in the freezer. I have some fresh rosemary that was on sale for ultra cheap (barely restrained myself from buying some thyme and oregano while I was at it, but I didn't get away without some fresh basil).

So would you chop the rosemary (how finely? I've never actually cooked with fresh rosemary being as it's usually so prohibitively expensive) and sprinkle it on top, or add it to the batter? Also about how much - would a T be too much (rosemary's pretty strong as I recall)?

If I put the carmelized onions on before starting to bake, won't they burn in 40 mins in the oven, or will they be ok?

I've got some shredded mozzarella - would that be good for a stuffed version? I'm guessing it would burn if sprinkled on top.

Also I only keep ADY in the house - I've been told before that it isn't necessary to change the amount when substituting ADY for instant and vice versa. But I saw mentioned that one lady "heeded the advice about ADY not being the same as instant" and she DID increase the amount by 25%. Which is what I always thought you were supposed to do, except I've been told by KA folks more than once that you don't really need to. So should I increase the the amount to use ADY?

Any input would be most welcome. I haven't baked in a couple of weeks. I'd like some fresh bread!

reply by: meghildreth on June 28, 2011 at 3:41 am
meghildreth

Thank you for posting the Not Your Average Joe's dipping oil. It is one of our favorites, and now we can make it for ourselves. I have a board with a dipping bowl that I bought when we went to KAF Christmas shopping.I bought one for each of my sisters and us. now, I will have to make a good bread for it.

When I make focacccia, I use standard cake pans so that it comes out nice and round. I may made a crusty loaf... Oh, I will consult my husband and see what he would like... he is very fond of really good breads.

reply by: ncgnet on June 28, 2011 at 8:55 am
ncgnet

Thanks so much for all the suggestions. I'm happy to report success. I decided to use the Blitz Bread focaccia recipe.

I watched the video and it was extremely useful. I realized I probably hadn't used enough oil in the dish on my attempt at the Globe recipe, which probably contributed to the sticking.

I also like the video's (Susan's) tip about putting the bowl on a scale and weighing ingredients - looks easy though I didn't do it this time. The scale my DH gave me from the KA catalog is one of my favorite possessions.

I succumbed to temptation and got a 9x13 non-stick metal pan, not too expensive and will be useful, though the Pyrex with more oil and higher temp would probably have worked too.

I didn't find instant yeast so used regular active dry yeast; it proofed while I organized my flour, prepped the pan, etc.

My oven temp is fine, I have an oven thermometer and check it from time to time.

I put about one tablespoon of Italian seasoning into the dough.

The only shower cap I found didn't fit over the pan so oiled some plastic wrap. Will have to stay at a better hotel sometime!

The bread came out just fine, fell right out of the pan, tasted good. I think I'd like it with a little more texture/chewiness so will try using bread flour instead of AP next time. Meanwhile we enjoyed this batch.