There’s few things more wonderful than steaming, fresh bread right out of the oven—unless perhaps you’re talking about the smell of fresh bread as it’s baking.
Many bread recipes suggest using white granulated sugar, because white sugar is cheap, dissolves easily, and is processed to be consistent in flavour. If you fall into this trap of using sugar for these reasons, you’re really missing out!
Not only is honey the more natural choice, filled with way more vitamins and minerals than white sugar, honey can come in many different flavours depending on what pollen that the bees used as their primary food. honibe®’s liquid butter comes in wildflower, clover and buckwheat, and each different flavour can lend a subtle unique flavour of its own to your baked goods.
To substitute honey for sugar in your favourite bread recipe, use an equal amount of honey. So if you need 1 tablespoon of white sugar, just use a tablespoon of honey instead.
It’s that simple!
In our kitchens, focaccia is a favourite bread to whip up on a regular basis. The beauty of focaccia is that it requires no special loaf pan and can be made on a cookie sheet. If you’re feeling plucky, you can top it at a whim before baking with infused oils, cheeses, herbs or sundried tomatoes—whatever you’re feeling at the moment!
It’s elegant enough to be served at a dinner party, sliced into bars just right for dipping into olive oil as an appetizer. But it’s also casual enough to be fresh bread served in roll-sized squares at dinner, spread with delicious, creamed honey butter.
We also love slicing this thick, honeyed focaccia horizontally and using it as a soft, delicious sandwich bun for cold cuts… but it also makes an excellent hot pizza sandwich when the middle is filled with tomato sauce, pepperoni and gooey mozzarella cheese.
The hardest part, of course, is making sure that it doesn’t get gobbled up fresh out of the oven! You might find you have to make a double batch just to have enough to use for cold cuts later!
Focaccia Bread Dough
Chef Ilona Daniel
In the bowl of a mixer: combine warm water, sugar or honey, and the yeast. Stir the mixture, and allow yeast to activate (approximately 10 minutes). Add egg, vegetable oil, and stir. Using dough hook attachment, add the first 2 cups of flour, and the salt. Mix, until combined, and repeat until all the flour is used. At this stage, you may only require 6 cups, or you may depending on humidity levels require up to an additional cup. You want the dough to just pull away from the sides- you don’t want a dry dough. Just enough stick factor, but does not stick to your hand.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and leave for 30 minutes. Roll out dough to fill a prepared baking sheet, or pizza pan. Spray lightly with pan spray, and cover with greased plastic wrap or a tea towel, and leave in a warmish spot for 30 minutes.
Uncover dough, and poke holes in it with a spoon handle at 1 inch intervals. Drizzle olive oil on dough, and sprinkle with crushed rosemary.
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is just golden. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on rack.
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