baking · food + drink

Salted Caramel Focaccia with Rosemary and Vanilla

This is my second time to take part in the Fresh from the Oven Challenge and with such a delicious looking Salted Caramel Focaccia …… and not having made a sweet focaccia before, how could I resist. Euan suggested using fresh candied citrus peel (apple and other fruits could also be used) and luckily I had some candied orange peel that I had made some months back. No candied lemon peel and oo type flour though… but no worries, one can always try to improvise! 

I always try to keep a few pots of fresh herbs growing in the garden throughout the year and rosemary being one of them manages to survive our searing hot summers! A combination of fresh  rosemary, home-candied orange peel, fresh lemon zest (use a microplane grater for best results) and a few vanilla products from my store cupboard, I thought would work nicely with this recipe!

The original recipe and method of making the Salted Caramel Focaccia is found over at Euan’s blog Signor Biscotti who is hosting this months Fresh from the Oven Challenge. Some changes were made to the original recipe and are as follows:

  • Not having type 00 flour, replaced with all-purpose flour
  • Used vanilla infused sugar instead of castor sugar throughout the recipe
  • Used vanilla infused olive oil instead of olive oil
  • Used 75g of home-candied orange peel instead of the 100g of mixed peel
  • Omitted the raisins
  • Added the zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • Used ordinary salted butter
  • Used 3 teaspoons of freshly chopped rosemary, 2 for mixing in with the dough and 1 for sprinkling over the top before baking

After mixing the dough I found it was not as sticky as Euan described (possibly the flours used), but tossed it on a work surface and gave the dough a good work-out by hand, a very therapeutic process! I hope to try the french technique for kneading dough another time… interesting video to watch (link on Euan’s blog), my dough was definitely not as sticky as the one chef Paul worked on or should I say slapped around his work surface!

Incorporated the candied orange peel, lemon zest and rosemary into the dough, which was then placed into an oiled bowl and covered with some cling film. The dough took about one hour and forty minutes to double in size.

 Used a baking stone with its own tray (lightly oiled) to shape the dough on. A swivel peeler enabled me to shave thin slices of cold salted butter directly over the dough, before sprinkling over the vanilla infused sugar and remaining fresh rosemary. Loosely covered with cling film, the tray with the dough was left for almost an hour to rise before dimpling and baking on top of the baking stone (pre-heated in the oven) for almost 20 minutes. The results… Fantastico… Delizioso pane appena sfornato... loved this recipe, it was so delicious with its crunchy sweet crust, using fresh candied orange peel made a big difference to the flavour and the touch of fresh rosemary was not overpowering.  Will definitely make this focaccia again and will try using some candied lemon peel also, which I need to stock up on! Although most of the focaccia was eaten (some restraint was greatly needed) the same day… polished it off the next morning (I did share some) for breakfast and although the crunchy crust had dissolved, it was still enjoyed!

baking · food + drink · posts

cinnamon buns – fresh from the oven

Recently I came across some delicious looking saffron buns, baked as part of the Fresh from the Oven Challenge! Now I knew the only way I was going to have one of these buns was to bake them myself and with some home-made Doughnut Peach Conserve in the fridge… how could I resist! When it comes to bread making there is no greater pleasure than the smell and taste of bread fresh from the oven… Irish soda bread is baked quite often in our house!

Sally from My Custard Pie had set the challenge and the full recipe and instructions for saffron buns will be found on her blog!  As cinnamon is a favourite with everyone in our family I decided to forgo the saffron for another time! I did follow Sally’s recipe and method and the only changes I made were as follows:

  • Omitted the saffron and replaced with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon which was sieved in with the flour and salt
  • Used light brown muscovado sugar instead of golden caster sugar
  • Used salted butter instead of unsalted
  • Used 1/4 teaspoon of salt instead of 1/2 teaspoon

When it came to adding the water to the dry ingredients I needed a little more than the 100ml of water suggested… depends on the brand and type of flour used, so maybe keep this in mind!

The kitchen was a bit on the warm side so when it came to rubbing the butter into the flour I opted to use a pastry blender which is a handy kitchen tool to have, especially if you have warm hands.

Kneading bread dough is a very therapeutic process (one that I love), but this time I decided to use the dough hook on a stand mixer, making the process of kneading the dough a breeze!

Rather than placing all the pieces of dough on a baking tray to prove, I placed them into small lightly oiled baking tins… giving them a different shape when baked, which of course is completely optional.

The dough took longer than one hour to prove and I did find by moving the dough to a much warmer area of the house gave the dough a better rise! The cinnamon buns were baked in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Serve warm with butter and preserves.

You could also try to make a really easy Uncooked Raspberry Jam which would be very delicious with these cinnamon buns or other home-made breads!