This is an adaptation of a recipe culled from a baking blog (thanks Emily for the link) the URL of which I omitted to save. I have been playing around with various methods of making focaccia and I think this one comes the closest to my personal ideal of what the bread should look and taste like. Not only that, but it’s also the simplest method …
Start the process around 6pm and have focaccia for luncheon the following day. Of the 18 or so hours not much more than 20 minutes are taken in actually doing stuff.
510g bread flour
30g rye flour or strong wholemeal flour
390g room temperature water
27g olive oil
1 cup of active sourdough starter (levain)
It’s 6pm so pour yourself a drink and do this … won’t take long:
- Place water in large bowl. Add oil and levain to large bowl and stir with until levain is well distributed. Add flours and stir until no dry flour remains. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle salt over dough and knead by hand in bowl until incorporated – or use a dough hook on a mixer. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Using lightly wet or oiled hands, fold dough until tight and uniform, 6 to 8 folds. Cover well. Note this is a very wet dough so don’t try to do this with dry skin.
- Bulk Fermentation: about 12 hours in a cool place – a good method is to put the bowl containing the dough in an insulated coolbox overnight with a cold pack beside it.
- Breakfast time next morning – coat 9-inch round or 9- by 13-inch rectangular cake pan with nonstick spray, then with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer dough to pan and, using fingertips, gently spread toward corners (dough may not fill pan completely). Cover with plastic wrap and place in an oven with the light on – this brings just enough warmth to the process. Leave for around a couple of hours to start rising and bubbling.
- Heat oven at 400 to 450 degrees (after removing the dough, of course). If topping with larger ingredients such as whole olives, tomatoes, or herb sprigs, coat top of dough lightly with olive oil, then push toppings into dough nearly to pan bottom. Cover and let continue to proof while oven heats up.
- Coat top and edges of dough with 3 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with any remaining toppings (flake salt, spices, herbs, etc). Bake until evenly browned on top, approximately 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Drizzle with an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and allow to cool. Pour any oil remaining in pan over loaf, slice, and serve.
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