Monday, May 24, 2010


I decided yesterday morning that a burger on the grill was in order. I did grill a whole chicken a week or so ago but this is the official grilling season kick off. (I actually grill all year but whatever) Neither Madam nor I are fans of the traditional hamburger bun so I decided that I would whip up a focaccia for the bread part. If you are in the mood for a burger (or any other sandwich for that matter) this bread makes a great bun and it is 'easy peasy lemon squeezy' to make. Once you have a burger with a fresh focaccia bun you'll be spoiled so this is a warning.

This makes the traditional 10x15 loaf.
You'll need:

500 g flour or about 4 cups (I actually use 400g of regular all purpose flour and 100g of whole wheat but all A/P is fine)

400 g water or a scant 1 1/4 cups
1 pkg instant yeast (also known as rapid rise or quick rise yeast and yes regular active dry yeast will work jus slower and you'll have to proof it in water before adding it)
1.5 Tsp Kosher salt or about 10g
4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for the top
1 Tsp. fresh rosemary leaves chopped (You can use other herbs here thyme, basil or oregano are all good but if you use other than rosemary then use dried herbs as fresh ones will burn in the oven)
1/2 - 1 Tsp coarse salt ( I use Maldon Sea Salt but its hard to find)

Mix the flour, yeast, water, oil, salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or your food processor with the dough blade and mix on low until all the ingredients are combined. Turn off the mixer and let it rest for 10-15 minutes while the flour fully absorbs the water. On medium mix the dough for about 5 minutes more until it is cleaning the sides of the bowl. This is a wet dough so oil your hands before working with it. Turn the dough into an container that is well oiled with olive oil and cover. Let it ferment(rise) for about an hour until it doubles in size.

Dump the risen dough onto a well oiled 10x15 baking sheet with sides (jelly roll pan) and spread it out to cover the entire bottom of the pan. If it resists being forced out into the pan just let it rest and relax for a few minutes and continue to smooth it out. Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof for 30 more minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and with your oiled fingers poke the dough about every inch or so until your finger touches the bottom of the pan. Recover with the plastic and let it rise or proof for another hour or until it doubles. This all depends on the room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and gently drizzle/paint the dough with more olive oil being careful not to deflate it. Sprinkle with the coarse salt and chopped herbs. Slide it into the middle of your oven and it should bake about 25 to 30 minutes or until it is nicely browned on top. Remove from the oven and onto a wire rack to cool. I usually drizzle a little more oil on it at this point as well but it may be oily enough for you. Your call.

After it's cool you can cut it into sandwich/burger size squares  and then spit the squares in the middle to form sandwich/burger buns.

Just so you know, I served my burgers with fresh Vidalia onions sliced paper thin, fresh tomato and romaine lettuce leaves. The burgers (fresh ground chuck 80/20) were grilled medium with a thin splash of tamari(soy sauce) and a sprinkle of Penzey's Chicago Steak Seasoning. Oh! And Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard. That pretty much defines what I call a perfect burger.

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