Drunken Cherry Focaccia

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photos by Anagram Photography

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Makes 1 loaf

  • 3¼ cups bread flour, plus more for shaping
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for coating bowl, baking pan, and dough
  • ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1½ cups Bing cherries (fresh or frozen) soaked in 1 cup bourbon for 24 hours
  • Special equipment:
  • Instant-read thermometer
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt, keeping yeast and salt separate until just before mixing. Set aside. Measure 1½ cups water and use an instant-read thermometer to determine temperature. Using ice or warm water as needed, adjust temperature to between 65 and 70 degrees.
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, add half the water, then add dry ingredients. (Adding some water first keeps dry ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the bowl.) Mix on low speed, gradually adding remaining water until a soft, shaggy dough forms. It should still stick slightly to sides of bowl. (Be careful not to add water too late, as it becomes difficult to incorporate once dough has formed.)
  3. Once dough has formed, mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-low and mix an additional 4 minutes. Gradually add 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue to mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Dough should be soft and smooth with a moist, tacky surface. Add pine nuts and mix to incorporate. Using thermometer, check temperature of dough: It should be between 72 and 80 degrees. (If it’s higher than 80 degrees, refrigerate in 15-minute increments until it falls into the proper temperature range. If it’s lower, adjust time of fermentation in next step.)
  4. Coat the inside of a large glass or metal bowl in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Scrape dough into bowl and shape into a ball by pulling one edge to
the center and pressing lightly; turn bowl one quarter and repeat folding process three more times. Roll dough in olive oil to coat on all sides and turn it over so the smooth side is facing up. Place in a draft-free place that’s around 70 degrees for about 3 hours. Repeat folding process at the end of the first and second hours. If the dough’s temperature was lower than 72 degrees after mixing, let it ferment for an additional 10 minutes for every 2 degrees below 72.
  5. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside. Generously flour top of dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and let rest for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle with additional flour to lightly cover dough. Flour your hands and add additional flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to surface; if it sticks, lift using a bench knife rather than stretching dough. With the flat of your hands, spread dough into a ½-inch-thick rectangle about the size of the baking sheet. To transfer dough to baking sheet, fold it into thirds: Gently lift a short edge of the rectangle and fold it toward the center, then bring the other short edge over it (like you’d fold a letter). Brush away excess flour with a soft pastry brush. Lift dough onto prepared baking sheet and unfold, pressing to evenly cover entire baking sheet. Brush or massage top of dough with olive oil to lightly coat surface. Press soaked cherries evenly into dough.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and position a rack just below the center. Move dough to a draft-free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour—but keep a close eye on it as you cannot fix dough that is over-proofed (meaning it was allowed to sit too long). To test if it’s ready to bake, gently press a finger into dough to make a small indentation. If the indentation slowly disappears, it’s ready to bake. If it quickly bounces back, let the dough ferment another 15 to 20 minutes and check again. If it quickly bounces back again, wait another 5 to 10 minutes. If after a total of 30 minutes the indentation still disappears quickly, check at 5-minute intervals. (If indentation causes entire dough to deflate, it is over-proofed; the interior texture and flavor will be off when baked.) Once dough is ready, bake until dough rises and crust is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

From The Rise of La Farm.

  • Recipe By
    Lionel Vatinet, La Farm Bakery, Cary, North Carolina

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