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King Arthur’s Blitz Bread, or Ghetto Foccaccia

July 17, 2008

Blitz Bread

Most of the time, I enjoy cooking projects that are complicated, things that involve many steps and often bewildering instructions. I did recently try to make sourdough from my own starter, which, sadly, was an utter disaster. I’ve been dreaming of making croissants for awhile (I hear this is a three day process), and I have in the past tackled tortillas, chicken mole, homemade pasta, tortilla espagnola, paella: foodstuffs which have a (sometimes) deserved reputation for difficulty. But I have always stopped short of breads that involve making a biga or a poolish. I mean, just look what happened with my starter! Whenever I see a bread recipe that reads “add 1 cup biga” I tend to run the opposite direction, which is a shame, because that stuff is what makes bread really really good.

I am trying to get over this pre-ferment fear, but in the meantime, I’ve discovered a way to make foccaccia without a pre-ferment.

The King Arthur Flour Company calls this stuff blitz bread, but I like to call it ghetto foccaccia. This doesn’t even have a very long rise time, and takes less than two hours to make, from start to eating. That is my kind of bread making. The trick lies in using a lot of yeast, a lot more than one would normally use. Supposedly, this makes the flavor of the bread less complex, but to be honest, I thought it tasted delicious. Must be all that olive oil.

Unbaked foccaccia

I topped my ghetto foccaccia with Twenty-One Seasoning Salute (my new Trader Joe’s favorite) and a bit of parmesan, but you could do whatever you wanted with this stuff. I’m planning to attempt to use the recipe for some deep dish pizza of some sort in the future.

I’m not going to reprint the recipe here, because I didn’t modify it at all and I think the King Arthur people do a pretty good job of explaining how it’s done. Um, except where they say “combine all the ingredients.” That should probably say “combine all the ingredients except your seasonings.” But hey, they figured out how to make delicious bread in less than two hours, so I can’t really say anything bad about them at all. (Except hey, King Arthur people, it would be great if your organic flours weren’t so much more expensive than your non-organic versions. Get with it, folks!)

Ghetto Foccaccia

This stuff makes REALLY terrific sandwiches. I made a grilled mozzarella, heirloom tomato and basil sandwich on it and I think I almost swooned. It’s great with salad, and just try to stop yourself from tearing off bites every time you pass if you leave it out. This is definitely a bread recipe that deserves to go in the permanent collection.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2008 11:03 pm

    I like the name ghetto foccaccia! :)

    thanks for the tortilla tip

    …and ‘biga’, ‘poolish’! Those sound like potential names for my future pets :P — must look into what these are :D.

  2. PJ Hamel permalink
    July 20, 2008 2:46 pm

    Aw, c’mon, you can try a biga or poolish bread sometime. It’s just another way to say “combine flour and water and a pinch of yeast and let it sit around for 14 hours or so before you use it because it gives your bread better flavor and more rise.” Takes about 30 seconds of low effort… then it happily does its own thing. Anyway, glad you liked the ghetto focaccia (great name); we all like it here, too. We’re not, after all, biga/poolish snobs!
    As for the organic flours – price is based on what the farmer charges the miller for his organic grain, and then what the miller charges us to turn it into flour. Nothing complicated or hidden. Organic farmers get more for their grains because it takes 4-5 years after the first planting to be able to sell them; that’s a lot of down time.
    Anyway, thanks for thekind words – PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour test baker

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