Fresh From The Oven!

Well, not quite. I made this Raisin Focaccia over 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!

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Looks delicious. I love raisins-- though mostly I just eat them right out of the box, rather than getting around to baking.

Are you a real nog drinker or a soy nog drinker? I can't drink the real think, but Silk's Soy Nog is delicious-- I basically drink nothing but soy nog for most of the month.
: )
Tera said…
What a challenge...I will try to bake some bread! Yours looks to be the epitome of deliciosity!!!
This looks fabulous! Like BLC above, I usually just eat raisins, but I don't know why b/c I *so* love them baked in things too. I just may have to try this one....

P.S. Come to Italy! Woohoo!
Suldog said…
I, too, like a taste of eggnog, but only a glass or two a year. It's so thick and super-sweet, I can only stand it in small doses. However, I do always want that small dose, every year!
Nance said…
Oh, Anali! This is where we part company, and HOW! I cannot stand raisins or eggnog. ICK!
vasilisa said…
This looks so good...

Do you know how to substitute ingredients (as in "will it work?" or "how much"?) If I wanted to put honey instead of sugar, and spelt flour instead of regular?

I'm now looking for home-made healthy recipes for the season... And I love raisins :-)
Lisa Johnson said…
bipolarlawyercook - Thanks! I've tried the soy nog before and it was good, but I do like the real stuff best. No alcohol. Just pure creamy sugary goodness! ; )

tera - Oh I'm so glad! I hope you'll post about it! ; )

sognatrice - I love raisins in just about everything, cereal, bread, dessert. I like the golden ones too!

I'll make it over there one of these days! ; )
Lisa Johnson said…
suldog - I love it so much! I drink way less than I used too though. My parents have always kept about a gallon of it at all times over the holidays and I would sneak it and drink it straight out of the carton! I'm more restrained now. ; )

nance - Really??!! I'm so surprised! You must like apple cider. Warm and spiced? Mulled wine maybe... ; )

vasilisa - I do a lot of substitutions. Honey and syrup are good in place of sugar. You can try equal amounts and taste it to see how you like it. The only thing is I think I've heard that kids under a certain age aren't supposed to have honey.

I'm not familiar with spelt flour, but some flours have more or less gluten and changing the type of flour changes the amount of leavening agents that are needed. Depending on what you are making, you may need more or less, yeast, baking soda, and/or baking powder when you change the flour.

I think the blog "Gluten Free Girl"
has information about different types of flours and how to adjust for that. I'm still very much in the learning stages with how that all works. We can learn together! ; )
Eggnog? Why haven't I thought to buy some? Thanks, Anali. Now, if only I could have some of your foccaccia with it.
Lisa Johnson said…
susan - You're welcome! I'm using eggnog in my coffee and in all kinds of recipes now. I'm going to miss it when it's gone.
amisha said…
i had never tried eggnog until about 5 years ago... now it is one of my favorite holiday treats! and your foccaccia looks so delicious... sounds like a wonderful snack with a glass of nog :)
Lisa Johnson said…
amisha - It was quite nice! I can't remember a time when I didn't love eggnog. When I was a kid, I remember being so excited seeing it in the stores in the fall. I still feel the same when I see my first carton! ; )

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