When you live on a small island, summer is an important season to the pocketbook. Many of us hold down more than one job/season, especially in the summer, in hopes of stashing away a little extra for the cold months.
At this time of year, I tend to pick up a lot of catering jobs, in addition to the table I usually stock with home-baked goodies every Saturday morning at the Pender Islands’ Farmers’ Market.
This year, I’m happy to say I got a great little catering gig with Nattress & Company, a specialized travel company that is running tours here in conjunction with Pender Island Kayak Adventures. I make up lunches for guests to take with them on a day of kayaking around our little island. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about lunches, it’s that if you give them homemade bread and a fresh baked cookie, they’re putty in your hands.
Kayaking under the bridge that connects North and South Pender Islands. Photo courtesy KayakPenderIsland
I like focaccia for sandwiches, because it’s easy for me to make up multiple pans, and I can get 9-12 sandwiches from each one, which is a better yield than a regular loaf of bread. The focaccia is also a good choice for almost everybody, because it’s also dairy and egg free, making it great for people with allergies/sensitivities as well as the growing population of vegans.
This is my second focaccia recipe on IV. You’ll see that both are similar. In fact, this one is just a slightly larger scale recipe than the first, which gives you more bread in the pan, and therefore, more for the sandwich. I found the original recipe results in a rather flat loaf, which is perfect for a side with pasta or as a pizza base, but too thin for sandwiches.
I also use less herb oil on my sandwich focaccia. Too much oil makes the bread too soft to hold up under a lot of fillings.
These are the types of things you learn when you make sandwiches 2 dozen at a time.
: Thick, soft and tender bread that makes the BEST sandwiches.
Yield: 1 half-sheet pan
- All-Purpose Flour – 6¼ (28 oz)
- Salt – 2½ tsp
- Instant Yeast – 2½ tsp
- Olive Oil – ½ Cup (4 oz)
- Water – 2¼ Cups (18 oz)
- Olive Oil – 1 Cup
- Fresh Herbs, chopped (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives, parsley) – ⅓ to ½ Cup
- Garlic, halved – 1 clove
- Chili Flakes – pinch (optional)
- Coarse Salt & Freshly ground pepper – 1 tsp of each
- Mix the flour, salt and yeast on low speed in a standing mixer fit with the paddle. With the machine running, add the oil and water and mix on low speed until the ingredients form a wet, sticky ball.
- Switch to the dough hook, and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and sticky. It should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom.
- Transfer the sticky dough to a flour-dusted counter, then dust the top of the dough liberally. Pat the dough into a rectangle and rest it 5 minutes.
- Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size. Fold it into thirds, letter style, back into it’s original rectangle shape. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and rest it 30 minutes.
- Repeat the stretch and fold 2 more times, allowing the dough to rest for 30 minutes in between. After the last fold, rest the covered dough on the counter for 1 hour (it will swell, but not necessarily double).
- Meanwhile, make the herb oil: Warm the olive oil, herbs, garlic, chili, salt & pepper over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Remove garlic halves before using.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the herb oil Gently transfer the dough to a half-sheet pan using your oiled hands and a bench scraper. Spoon ¼ cup of the herb oil all over the dough.
- Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it to fill the pan. Avoid tearing or ripping the dough. If the dough is too springy, allow it to rest 10 minutes before continuing. Fill the pan as well as you can, keeping a uniform thickness.
- Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days.
- Remove the pan from the fridge 3 hours before baking. Drizzle with 2 additional tablespoons of herb oil and gently dimple it in. Recover, and allow to proof at room temp for 3 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
- Preheat the oven to 500° F with the rack in the middle. Place the pan in the oven, then reduce the temperature to 450° F. Bake for 10 minutes; rotate the pan 180°, then bake for another 10-15 minutes until light golden.
- Remove from the oven, and immediately transfer a wire cooling rack. Peel the parchment from the bottom of the dough and cool completely before slicing for sandwiches.
- Store leftover herb oil, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Preparation time: overnight
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Copyright © 2009-2012 Island Vittles/Theresa Carle-Sanders. Don’t Steal – Karma’s Real.