Sunday 17 May 2020

Bon Appétit Recipe Test : Shockingly Easy No-Knead Focaccia

With the MCO in effect in Malaysia, there hasn't been much work in the office which has left me with time to experiment with recipes from my latest obsession - food Youtube channel/page, Bon Appétit. The BA test kitchen is delightful to watch especially the Gourmet Makes series by Claire Saffitz and the Reverse Engineering series by Chris Morocco. 

The channel (which started off as a magazine decades ago) is definitely not for the short attention span (unlike the videos from Buzzfeed's Tasty) and everything made in their test kitchen requires patience and determination with recipes that are not quite the simplest. The food editors however are an amazing bunch of people who are so knowledgeable about food, it's really amazing to watch. I may be late to the BA craze but I guess it's never too late to start. 

I have never made bread before but the words 'shockingly easy' and 'no-knead' definitely caught my eye to try making it at least once. The recipe is available here and is by Sarah Jampel. 

Ingredients were simple and instructions were easy especially with that step-by-step video to guide you. I did make this rather in a hurry so the first proof was 3 hours followed by a 1 1/2 hour proof in the baking pan. I like bread with a pillowy soft middle like most Asians do so I didn't want to use the oven baking pan (which was about 18 x 13") with the fear of it coming out thin and biscuit-like.

This baking dish is 9x9" so I did end up with a pretty tall and poofy bread. It's probably a bit taller than I expected but it had a nice crunchy crust and a soft pillowy center. I was pretty happy!

Watch that bounce!

One thing to note is that focaccia is generally a rich and fragrant bread from all the extra virgin olive oil in it. It's not very neutral in flavor so it's good even on its own. With the minimum proofing time I chose to go with, it tasted a bit yeasty but within bearable levels for me. The amount of oil in it may be a concern for some though.

I made a tuna melt the following day - tuna mayo + cheddar toasted in the oven. The bottom of the focaccia turned out nicely toasted and crunchy. This was a really rich sandwich.

For the rest of the focaccia, I plan to toast them in the air fryer as tasty croutons or cut them into bread sticks to dip into some leftover tomato sauce. It soaks up liquid really nicely but holds it pretty well.

This was pretty fun for a first timer baking bread. Do give the recipe a go if you have time to leave a doughy baby laying around for a few hours. The results should be even better compared to mine!