Monday, December 3, 2007

Macaroni Grill bread

I basically dislike restaurant chains. But in giving chain restaurants a bit of respect, I'll say that they usually make one or two things that are pretty tasty. At the Macaroni Grill, that thing is the bread. A hot focaccia accompanies the mediocre food at the Macaroni Grill, making the long wait, oversalted sauces, and questionable decor almost tolerable.

Earlier this year, my best friend sent me a PDF of 100 or so knockoff recipes, much like those Todd Wilbur creates and compiles into books. (Maybe these are some of his recipes. I dunno.) I've made the bourbon chicken (like the kind they thrust into your face at mall food courts) and Chick-Fil-A chicken, as well as the fantastic Macaroni Grill focaccia knockoff.

The recipe for the bread is easy, so long as you have a few hours to make it; active prep time is about 5-10 minutes, while idle prep time is around 2 hours. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, this simple bread will fill your home w/a warm, yummy smell while it's baking. Sopped w/olive oil and herbs, it will fill your stomach w/carbs, grease, and rosemary.

While it lacks the air pockets traditionally found inside a focaccia, this stuff is still pretty good. It's a denser focaccia than you might expect, but this means the bread is spongier, thus soaking up more olive oil or sauce or whatever else you have a taste for.

Macaroni Grill Focaccia

1 packet dry yeast
1 tsp. canola oil (I use olive)
1 tbsp. sugar
Nonstick cooking spray
1 c. warm water
2 tbsp. margarine (I find that 2 tsp. is enough)
2 c. white flour
1/4 c. fresh rosemary, chopped, or 2 tbsp. dried
1 tsp. salt

-Place yeast, sugar and water in a large bowl or food processor and allow the
mixture to become bubbly.
-Mix in 2 c. of flour and salt.
-Flour a surface and knead dough for about 10 min. OR process in food processor for 15 sec. until smooth and elastic. Add flour if necessary.
-Oil a bowl, put dough in it. and cover with a towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for 1 hr., until doubled.
-Punch down dough and divide in half. Let the dough rest for a few minutes.
-Coat 2 9-in. square cake pans with nonstick spray. (Use just one pan if you want your bread to be tall, like it is at the Macaroni Grill; this is my preferred method.)
-Press dough into pans. Melt margarine. Brush margarine over the tops of the loaves. Sprinkle rosemary over the loaves and lightly press into the surface. Let the loaves rise again until doubled, about 45 min.
-Preheat oven to 450 F. Lightly sprinkle salt over the loaves. Bake for 20-25 min, until lightly browned.
-Serve immediately. Great dipped in olive oil w/herbs!


Lesly said...

I find your blog rather interesting. Personally I like Romano's Macaroni Grill. It is a great chain of Italian food restaurants. Macaroni Grill offers Tuscan bread, grill dishes, pasta and macaroni, a diverse range of Italian souses and many other Italian dishes. In addition, the company offers catering services for all kinds of gatherings in California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and in some other U.S. states. I have learned about the restaurant from

Peter said...

I just made a loaf of this stuff, and it's very good (even though I cooked it in the same oven as a pizza on a higher rack so the top was a little crispy), a little different from the restaurant's, which I love, but it's still perfect for dipping in olive oil. Maybe I'll try freeforming the loaf next time.