Baked Focaccia Sandwich


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Why I Love This Recipe

Home made hoagie, sub, grinder or what ever they are called where you live....with a twist. From King Arthur Flour's web site, I have modified this recipe with no change in results.


Ingredients You'll Need

BIGA:
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
DOUGH:
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (6 ounces) water
1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
FILLING:
1/4 pound thin-sliced salami
1/2 pound thin-sliced provolone
4 ounces (1 cup grated) Parmesan or Asiago cheese
TOPPING:
2 ounces (1/2 cup grated) Parmesan or Asiago cheese


Directions

BIGA: Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, cover the bowl, and let the mixture rest, at room temperature, for about 12 hours, or overnight.


MANUAL/MIXER METHOD: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a mixer, combine the biga with all of the dough ingredients, stirring to mix well. Mix until the dough becomes cohesive, then knead, by hand or machine, till it’s springy, about 5 minutes (or a bit longer by hand). Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for about 60 minutes; it should just about double in bulk.


BREAD MACHINE METHOD: Place the biga and all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer, program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 7 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, check the dough’s consistency; it should have formed a smooth ball. Adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, as necessary. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.


ASSEMBLY AND BAKING: Gently deflate the dough, divide it in half, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Cover it, and let it rest for 15 minutes; this gives the gluten a chance to relax, making it easier to roll out.


Working with half the dough at a time, roll it into an 18 x 13-inch rectangle. Don’t worry; if it’s not exactly 18 x 13 inches, you can stretch it once it’s in the pan. Transfer the dough to an olive oiled half-sheet (18 x 13-inch) pan. If you don’t have this size pan, use a cookie sheet, or whatever size pan you have that’s comparable. Cover the pan (a proof cover is ideal here), and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. After its rest, stretch the dough with your fingers to the edges of the pan; this will take some doing, but keep gently working it until it covers (or is close to covering)the bottom of the pan.


Put a layer of provolone atop the crust, then a layer of salami; alternatively, use mozzarella, or fontina; pepperoni, capocollo, or prosciutto, or the cheese or meat of your choice. Top the meat with the cup of grated Parmesan or Asiago; freshly grated is far, far superior to the stuff in a can, and it’s actually fairly easy to purchase freshly grated cheese at the supermarket these days, so go for it.


Roll the other half of the dough into a rectangle large enough to cover the filled crust. Drape it over the filling, and seal it to the bottom crust all the way around. Cut a small hole in the center, to allow any steam to escape. Cover the focaccia, and let it rise for 30 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 350°F.


Bake the focaccia for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, sprinkle it with the half cup of Asiago or Parmesan, and return it to the oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden brown, and the cheese is melted. Remove it from the oven, and as soon as possible use a large spatula to transfer it to a rack to cool; this will prevent its bottom from becoming soggy. Slice into generous rectangles to serve. Yield: 8 servings.


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