Thursday, June 24, 2010

Focaccia with Garlic Shards, Artichokes, Feta Cheese and Rosemary

Focaccia with Garlic Shards, Artichokes, Feta Cheese and Rosemary

It all began with the cheese!

    (Yes, that's my Flintsone's plate/cutting board below)

I went to the Spring Garden Faire at the Exchange Place in Kingsport, TN in April.  The Exchange Place is a working 1850's farmstead that is a historical landmark.  It was fun browsing through all the booths of vendors--plants  (especially native and heirloom), plant accessories, crafts and  locally made food items like honey, breads and salsa.  

Then I saw the booth for the local man who makes his own goat cheese.  He was giving out samples!  I tried the plain kind, and it was so smooth and creamy! The farmer said I could freeze the cheese, break off pieces, and use it up within 6 months. I was hooked, I had to buy some.  I bought the garlic-dill flavor.

So I have had this cheese in the freezer for about 2 months, savoring it a little at a time with toast or fruit.  YUM!

I decided to use the cheese on a special pizza or focaccia bread.  I hadn't tried making any of the "Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day" or "Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day" focaccia breads yet, so I started flipping through those books.  It sounded like the "Focaccia with Garlic Shards, Artichokes, and Rosemary" would be a good candidate for my special cheese.

On an early Monday morning, I decided to make the focaccia bread for dinner that night.  That's not hard to do, because the HB5 dough is so quick to make!  I made the "100% Whole Wheat with Olive Oil" dough. Here are my substitutions for the focaccia bread:
  • Used White Whole Wheat flour, instead of Whole Wheat
  • Doubled the amount of garlic
  • Added four ounces garlic-dill goat cheese
I mixed up a half batch (2 pounds) of the dough about 9 a.m. and put it in the microwave oven to rise for about 2 hours.  Then I went to the gym to exercise.  I ran a few errands (which included buying the marinated artichokes) and didn't get home until about 3p.m.  
However, I wasn't worried about the dough--I knew that the dough wouldn't become spoiled.  It doesn't have any eggs, and the longer rise might improve the flavor.  I usually refrigerate my dough overnight, to help make it easier to handle.

The olive oil gave this dough a wonderful, silky feel.  I shaped 1 1/2 pounds of dough into a ball to stretch the gluten.  Then the dough rested about 10 minutes to make it easier to handle.  After the rest, I rolled it into a rectangle with my pastry roller.  When the dough rectangle became large enough, I placed it in my baking pan.

I "dimpled" the dough so that the olive oil would stay on the dough.  The garlic had already been cut into slivers, and sauteed in olive oil. Both went onto the dough.  The garlic and garlic-infused oil smelled wonderful!  The artichokes were drained, cut into slivers and put onto the dough.

I was afraid that this creamy goat cheese would burn.  Therefore, I put the cheese on halfway through--about 10 minutes into the baking.  I'm glad that I didn't put the cheese on at the very beginning, because it did begin to brown:

We enjoyed the focaccia bread with curried zucchini soup. The soup was also a new recipe.  While we didn't like the soup, we LOVED this focaccia bread!

There was enough for leftovers, and it was great warmed up for another dinner.  I just made sure that we put the focaccia bread in the oven when we turned the oven on to 350 degrees.  By the time the oven got to that temperature, the pizza was warm.  Also, the cheese didn't burn.

We will definitely enjoy this focaccia bread again!  I am calling the farmer soon, for some more of his wonderful local cheese!!!

Handwise tips:  If you have hand pain, tendonitis, or arthritis or any other pain issues and want to make this recipe,  
  1. You might space it out over a few days.  Make the stored dough several days before. You could slice the garlic and artichokes a day or two before, and place them in separate storage containers.  You might try sauteeing the garlic beforehand and placing it in the refrigerator.  Just be sure to let it come back to room temperature so that the olive oil becomes liquid again.
  2. When you are mixing the dough--If your hand problems respond to warmth, mixing with your hands may be a wonderful option.  The water you add is about 100 degrees, and it's a very wet dough.  It's pretty easy to mix, and no kneading.  The olive oil in this dough makes it even easier to mix.  I always love to put my hand into the warm dough to mix it!  You can get a better idea of when the dough is "just right," too!
  3. Let the dough rest if it resists stretching out.  Wait 10-15 minutes after doing the gluten cloak, and it should easily be  patted or rolled out.  Good time to have a seat and rest your hands!
  4. Soak your tools in your empty dough bucket or a pan when you are finished using them.   That way, you can wash them easily later (or tomorrow!)  Give yourself the permission of time to clean up much later. 
  5. I think that people are less inclined to feel pain when they are doing something they really enjoy!  I just loved making (and eating) this recipe!!!

Thanks for stopping by to visit!  I hope you will leave a comment below.  Maybe you can add a handwise or time saving suggestion that will help others?

About the HBinFive Baking Group
The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book. For more information on the HBinFive baking group, check out BigBlackDog.


  1. oh this looks great you will have to go back and tell the farmer lol

  2. Thanks! This was fun! I found him at another,closer Farmer's Market. I think there might be a number of people in "them thar hills" raising goats. We have a friend in Bristol, TN, in the country. Directions to her house include "turn left immediately after the goats." She doesn't mention the Bristol Caverns landmark, she mentions the goats! We asked if the goats are always there, and she said YES!

  3. Your bread looks wonderful. How nice to be able to support your local artisans.

  4. Sounds great. Making me hungry.

  5. Thanks so much, guys! I agree, Bonnie, it's great to support the local artisans. And this goat cheese producer is definitely an artist with his cheese!!!

    When are you stopping by for dinner, hungry Old Pop? I still have 1/2 jar of marinated artichokes and I see some fresh mozzarella in the fridge. I usually have master dough in the fridge and garlic around.

    :) Judy

  6. Your focaccia looked really good. I love goat cheese and it sounds like you have an excellent source.