tomato berry fougasse; tuesdays with dorie

 this week for our baking with julia challenge, we were given the choice of baking blueberry muffins or a sweet berry fougasse, sigh…as a former bakery owner, trust me, i have mastered the art of blueberry muffins.  whose recipe it is just isn’t important, it’s a blueberry muffin; eat one and you’ve tasted most of them.  that left the sweet berry fougasse.  a simple description is a plain focaccia with a few berries and a handful of crumb topping.  one mention of berries in focaccia, both me and my husband immediately wrinkled our noses up-can you hear the ewwww?  either way, i was determined to bake something and while standing in the kitchen staring at the small mountain of tomatoes on the counter top, sudden epiphany; tomatoes are berries.  that small technicality was all i needed.

to bake the recipe yourself, consider buying or borrowing the book and turning to page 194 and for the muffins, page 208.  or, for those of you not able to find the book, the recipe for the fougasse and the required focaccia can be found here.

to make my bread, first i cut the focaccia recipe in half.  with just two of us in the house, more than that would be a waste.  after the required 24 hour rest in the fridge, i cut the dough in half and formed two rectangular slabs.  i gave them a liberal brush of olive oil, a sprinkle of freshly chopped herbs from the garden (rosemary, oregano and basil) and topped the loaf with thin slices of tomatoes.  into the oven they went.

nice and chewy with a tang from the fresh tomato slices.  perfect for a lazy dinner of salad and bread.  to see what the other bakers came up with, visit the tuesdays with dorie page.

sundried tomato focaccia

 when it comes to simple and easy bread, focaccia is the only one you need to make.  you can slice it into strips and serve it with a salad, cut squares and stuff them for sandwiches or you can simply eat pieces of it.  there isn’t any intricate shaping or special pan required; just your finger tips will do.  the best part, the dough is so forgiving that mistakes are hard to see.  even better is the fact that you can add just about anything to the dough and still get a good result.

this weeks recipe from baking with julia is the focaccia featured on page 143 and is hosted by sharmini of wandering through.  be sure to visit her page to see the recipe or better yet, pick up a copy of baking with julia-it is worth every bit of space on the shelf.  to see what the other 100 or so bakers have come up with, visit the tuesdays with dorie page.

a few notes to share.  since there is just two of us in the house, i cut the recipe in half and made two small squares.  while the recipe called for a 24-36 hour rest in the fridge, my life could only accomodate about 16-18 hour period.  that is probably why i did not get all of the little bubbles on the surface.  maybe next time, or maybe not.  the bread was nice and light; the shorter resting did not seem to be a huge issue.  since i was pressed for time, i didn’t bother with the fresh herbs and just sprinkled a little sea salt on top of each loaf.

 my sundried tomatoes came packed in olive oil.  to add even more flavor to the bread, i used some of that oil in the bread too.  it gave it a nice tomato orange shade.

the window pane test for gluten development.  if you can stretch it out to a transparent window without tearing, it is ready.

shaped and waiting to be baked

 after a light brush of olive oil, this loaf of bread is waiting its turn in the oven.
 fresh from the oven.  

be sure to check out the tuesdays with dorie page and bake along with us sometime!