First post of 2024!
This stunningly delicious recipe appears in Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, and it’s the “brainchild” of James Mark, presumably of the Milk Bar restaurant.
It may seem insanely unhealthy to add an entire cup of infused oil to a bread recipe, and it is! Don’t let that stop you, though. This is one of the best things you’re ever going to bake, and if you don’t eat it every day, it’s not going to do a lot of harm.
Yes, it takes a bit of time to make this, but it’s well worth it for its showstopping result.
What you’ll need for the dough
- 550g (3.5 cups) flour
- 12g (1T) kosher salt
- 3.5g (1.12t) active dry yeast
- 370g (1.75 cups) room-temperature water
What you’ll need for the focaccia
- 340g (12 oz) Chinese sausages
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 cup grapeseed oil
- 0.33 cups toban djan (chili bean sauce)
- 1 recipe of Christina Tosi’s Mother Dough (recipe below)
- 13” X 9” sheet pan (quarter sheet pan)
What to do for the dough
Get the dough ready for the sausages and oil.
Stir together the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir it with a large spoon or manually with an unattached dough hook. Continue stirring by hand, gradually adding the water, for about 1 minute or until the mixture had come together as a shaggy mass.
Put the mixer bowl into the mixer and attach the dough hook, then mix the dough at your mixer’s lowest speed for about 3 minutes or until the dough ball is smoother and more cohesive. Kneed for about 4 more minutes on low. When ready, the dough should be like a wet ball and should bounce back when poked with your finger.
Next, brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough ball into it. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it proof at room temperature for 45 minutes. At that point, it’s ready to use.
What to do for the sausage and focaccia
Cut each sausage link in half lengthwise. Then slice each half into 12 half-moon pieces. Set aside. Cut the garlic cloves into very thin slices. Set aside.
Next, combine the oil, toban djan, sausage slices and garlic in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. The oil will take on a deep red from the toban djan and the sausage will darken. Strain the oil through a fine mesh of some kind. Set the oil and sausage/garlic aside (separately) for later.
Punch the dough down and flatten it on a smooth, dry countertop. Stretch the dough into a rectangle a little longer and wider than the quarter sheet pan.
Imagine diving the dough lengthwise into thirds. With this in mind, and the long edge of the dough facing you, spread half the sausage and garlic down the center-third of the dough. Fold the right-third of the dough over the center-third. Cover that layer with the rest of the sausage and garlic, then fold the left-third of the dough over the stacked center third. What you should now have is a thick, rectangular hunk of dough with 5 layers: 3 dough and 2 sausage.
Carefully lift the dough by the ends and center it into the baking sheet. Loosely cover the dough with plastic and let it rise at room temperature for 45 minutes—it should about double in size.
15 minutes before it’s scheduled to be done rising, heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Once the dough has doubled in size, it should fill the baking sheet. Uncover the dough and using your fingers, gently poke dimples all over the top of the dough. This part will sound crazy, but pour the infused oil all around the perimeter of the dough. Use all of it, and don’t pour it over the top.
Bake the focaccia for 15 minutes or until it’s golden brown.
When it’s done cooking, let it cool to room temperature in the pan before cutting and serving. If you try to cut it while hot, it will seem gummy and undercooked.
Slice the focaccia into slab-like pieces and serve at room temperature, or flash toast it for a minute or two in a hot oven before serving.
It will keep wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days, if you manage not to eat it all by then.