Niles Golovin, Bread baker-owner
The Bantam Bread Company * Bantam, Connecticut

Known far and wide, Niles and the Bantam Bread Company offer an amazing range of superb artisan breads; colorful, aromatic focaccias; fresh fruit tarts, dirtbombs and exquisite cookies. Attending the annual August Litchfield Jazz Festival and need special picnic fare? Call Niles at (860) 567-2737 and place your order.

Focaccia

  • 1 rounded tablespoon of dry yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

    For the flat bread: Combine the yeast and water and stir in the flour, salt and olive oil. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a floured surface until it is soft and easy to handle, about 10 minutes.
    Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough has more than doubled. Punch down gently, knead the dough and divide it into pieces about 10 ounces each; round them into balls. Place them on a flour-dusted board; cover with plastic wrap; and let them rest for about 20 minutes.
    With floured fingers, dock the dough (create dimples in the dough with your fingertips) and allow the dough to rest again. Stretch the dough into rounds on a board sprinkled with corn meal or flour. Brush the flat bread lightly with olive oil and cover with one of the toppings. Dab the surface with a bit of olive oil again before sliding the flat breads onto a baking stone in a preheated, 450F oven for about 20 minutes or until brown and crusty.

    Focaccia Toppings
    Plum Tomato Topping

    Thinly slice ripe tomatoes. Sprinkle the dough with fresh, chopped oregano or basil. Overlapping slightly, arrange the tomato slices on the dough. Sprinkle the tomatoes with chopped garlic, coarse ground pepper and a generous pinch of coarse salt.

    Broccoli, Pepperoni, Cheddar and Sundried Tomato Topping
    Spread blanched broccoli florets, pieces of sundried tomatoes and thinly sliced or minced pepperoni across the oiled flat bread. Sprinkle with grated sharp cheddar and coarse pepper.

    Arugula, Sundried Tomato and Goat Cheese Topping
    Wash and drain the arugula (or spinach); it doesn't have to be bone-dry. Toss with olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and allow to wilt for half an hour or overnight. Spread the arugula across the oiled flat bread and dab with pinches of fresh goat cheese and scatter with pieces of sundried tomato.

    Note: The flat breads can also be very simply made with a strong herb such as rosemary or marjoram and salt and pepper.



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