Extraordinary Bread – Garden Focaccia

For dinner last evening, I made spaghetti with roasted vegetables. The King Arthur Baking Company Focaccia recipe was a nice complement to the meal.

Before baking, I read the blog post by Kay Ameden on the King Arthur Baking Company website and looked at the numerous creative entries into the Extraordinary Bread contest. I wanted to come up with some creative approach to the embellishments of my Focaccia. Since the theme of flowers was well represented in the many photos, I thought about what other items were in my garden that I could use as inspiration.

Having made several fused glass pieces of garden art (mushrooms, turtles, ants, and others), I considered replicating one of these in the focaccia design. While looking through photos of these previous projects for inspiration, I was reminded of the glass stepping stones that I had made. Several years ago, when our front yard needed a major update, I created a path with custom stepping stones. One of these was involved a playful and colorful set of swirls around a center daisy.

This idea did, however have one problems. While I was able to think about what vegetables and seeds to use for most of the colors in the swirls, I was unsure what to use for the blue swirl. Blueberries would have provided the color I wanted, but berries in a savory focaccia didn’t seem to be the best combination.

A perusal of the vegetables, herbs and seeds at the local grocery store was also not successful. So, I decided to do a little experimenting to see if I could use food dye to change the color of another vegetable. Since blue is a primary color, I knew I would need to use something that was white or light cream in color. I first tried sesame seeds. The seeds, however, were not porous enough for the color to penetrate. This limitation would make other seeds likely not be be successful. After scanning through of my baking/cooking supplies, I decided to try to dye dried onion flakes. If successful, the onion would blend nicely with the other herbs and vegetables I was planning to use. I used one drop of gel dye mixed with 1 teaspoon of water and 2 tablespoons of onion flakes. The onion picked up the color of food dye very well. After letting these dry on some parchment paper for two hours, they were ready to be used.

Each of the vegetables I was planning to used were chopped finely.

White Onion
Yellow Pepper
Orange Carrot
Red Pepper
Asparagus
Blue Dyes Onion Flakes
Purple Onion

For the black daisy in the middle of the design, I cut a template out of parchment paper. The surface of the focaccia was lightly coated with olive oil and the template was pressed onto the oil. Poppy seeds were then sprinkled onto the template. After making sure there were no loose seeds, the template was removed and discarded.

The chopped vegetables were then added and a cherry tomato was used for the center of the daisy.

After baking, the focaccia resembled my stepping stone and was very tasty!

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