Well, not quite. I made this Raisin Focacciaover a week ago, but am just now getting around to a proper post. There's still some left and I've been enjoying every bite! I had some with eggnog. My holiday weakness!
This is my second bread baked of the season, but the first since I made my Homemade Bread Pledge. When I was in the store this weekend, I almost bought some bread by mistake. I saw some Naan, which is one of my favorites, then I remembered my pledge! I'm going to have to make some soon. I've been meaning to try one of Asha's Naan recipes for a while now. I don't know if anyone has decided to take on this pledge, but I was thinking that it would be fun even if only one other person decides to bake bread once or more instead of buying it this winter. Please let me know if you're interested and do a post. I'll do a Roundup at the beginning of April with all the breads that I've baked and breads that any of you have baked because of the Pledge too. It would be especially fun if you've never baked bread before to see your experience and how you felt about it.
I've made Focaccia before, but it was savory. I never knew that it could be sweet until I turned to one of my cookbooks called Italy in Small Bites by Carol Field. I found this recipe in the chapter Dolci e Pani Dolci, which I think translates to sweets and sweet bread. This bread is not quick to make, but I think it's worth the wait. Hopefully, like this post.
Italian food has always been one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite type of food. And between recently reading Eat, Pray, Love and reading these posts, I'm going out of my mind wanting to visit Italy. I needed a virtual trip because a real one cannot happen soon enough. I can just imagine my first trip to Italy. Settling in at my hotel, then leaving to take a walk around the surrounding area. What's the first thing I do? Look for a bakery!
Raisin Focaccia (adapted from Italy in Small Bites)
2 cups raisins 2 cups water 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 T grapeseed oil 1 1/4 tsp. active yeast 3 T sugar 3 3/4 cups flour + 2 T
Place raisins in medium bowl. Pour vanilla extract and water over the raisins. Let soak for a half an hour. Drain and reserve the water in a glass measuring cup. When I drained the water, I had 1 3/4 cups vanilla raisin water left. Keep just under 1 1/2 cups of this water in measuring cup. Pour the rest of the water into a small bowl and set aside for later.
Warm the 1 1/2 cups water in microwave - about two minutes. Put only 2 T of the sugar and all of the yeast into the warm water. Whisk until combined. Set aside for about ten mintues. It will be foaming at the top. Stir the grapeseed oil into the mixture.
In large bowl, add all the flour and salt. Slowly stir in the yeast mixture. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes. Keep adding flour to dough as needed. Put dough back into the bowl and cover. Let rise about an hour and a half. Pat raisins dry and toss with 2 T flour.
Turn dough onto floured surface and and pour floured covered raisins onto dough. Press raisins into dough with your hands. Fold dough over, flatten and press out with your hands. Repeat until raisins are all in the dough and it is pressed out to a decent size. Oil a baking sheet. Place dough on sheet. Let rise for about an hour. Use a pastry brush to brush raisin water on top of dough. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of sugar on top. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Let cool before cutting. Enjoy!