Sofrito Focaccia

In Portugal, slowly sauteed onions are called sofrito, a deeply flavored base for stews or dishes with rice or potatoes.  It has many variations throughout Europe, Central and South America.  I have made a sofrito bread before with onions and rice that was very good.

Focaccia breads are great because it lets you make a bread with almost no kneading in about 3 hrs.  Needless to say (but I will anyway), you won’t make this on a weeknight.  But on the weekend when you want something tasty with that soup or salad, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen making this.  Most of the prep time is 2 one hour rise times and a 25 minute baking time.  You start out by dicing your onion and giving it a slow saute in olive oil.  Add spices that will compliment your dinner, I used black pepper and coriander tonight because we were having African Peanut Soup.

You’ll need:

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 Tbs olive oil (for onion saute)

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 fresh ground black pepper

1 3/4 cup warm water (around 110F)

2 Tbs olive oil (for yeast mixture)

1 pkg active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)

2 tsp olive oil (for brushing bread before baking)

Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, as desired

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 Tbs olive oil and diced onion. (I added extra black pepper at this point) Saute slowly for about 15-20 minutes until onion is translucent and just beginning to turn golden.  Remove from heat.  Allow to cool while you combine dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, salt, pepper and coriander.  To this bowl add your sauteed onions and toss to mix.

In a medium size measuring cup, add warm water, olive oil and yeast package.  Stir well.  Pour this mixture into bowl of dry ingredients.  Use a spatula to give it a rough mixing.  Place bowl in mixer stand and using dough hook, mix the dough for about 5 minutes until dough is pulling away for sides.  Remove hook from dough.  Place a clean towel over bowl and set in a warm place to let dough rise for about 1 hour until it has doubled in size.

Lightly oil a 1/2 sheet cake pan and turn out dough onto it.  Fold the dough over onto itself about 3-4 times and then, using the ends of your fingers, spread the dough over the entire surface of the pan in an even layer.  Let dough rise again for about one hour.

Preheat oven to 450F.  Spread 2 Tbs olive oil over surface of bread and poke indentations all over the surface of the bread (I use back end of a large wooden spoon)  Sprinkle with coarse salt and black pepper.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Cut into squares to serve.  Enjoy.

Note: This bread freezes well.

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