Focaccia was one of the first breads that made me realize that I love to make bread. It is a very yeasty and olive oil drenched dough; the smell alone was enough to give me weak knees. I realized, shortly after, that the smell of all fresh doughs excited me. I enjoy making and working with dough more than I like to eat it, unfortunately I battle with standard kitchen ovens more than pizza and bread ovens, or even a combi-oven which also makes an incredible loaf of bread. After reading about the hand full of tricks to turning your oven into a good bread baking oven, I feel that the best way to bake an artisan loaf of bread is in a cast iron pot with a lid. It holds in the moisture coming off the dough and it creates and even heating environment inside.
1.5C Warm water
1C Sourdough starter
1/4C Olive Oil
1# 2oz Flour
2ea Rosemary stems (cleaned)
- Combine yeast, water, starter, and sugar. Allow the yeast to “bloom” for 10 minutes.
- Add oil, rosemary, and flour, mix by hand until the dough comes together.
- Add salt and mix until incorporated.
- Place the dough in a mixer and mix until the gluten have developed, about 7 minutes. You may need a little extra flour during the first couple minutes of mixing.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead to form a ball.
- Cover and let double in size, this should take no more than 20 minutes in a warm area.
- Oil your baking tray and dock the dough down with your fingers, try not to stretch the dough, and let the dough rest a few minutes in between docking. You want the dough to be about an inch thick.
- Bake at 350°F until done. To check for doneness, quickly tap the underside of the tray with your finger, you will be listening for a hollow sound.
Since my recent explorations into black garlic, I figured that I would make a loaf of black garlic focaccia, and since I didn’t pay $26 a pound for it, it was a good venture. For the black garlic focaccia I omitted the rosemary, which you could probably keep, and added four cloves of black garlic, which I smashed with my knife. For this batch, I made my focaccia dough a little wetter than normal and treated it like a ciabatta when it cames to working the gluten. This also allowed for the yeast to develop more and gives you a tastier loaf of bread.
Follow the first three steps from above then knead as follows:
- Place the dough in a bowl and let sit covered with plastic in a warm area for 30 minutes.
- Fold the dough over itself after 30 minutes, cover and let set for an additional 60 minutes.
- Repeat the previous step, except this time, let the dough rest for 1 hour.
- Flour your hands, your work surface, and the dough, this next step gets a little messy. Roll the dough out onto your workstation and fold it similar to ciabatta.
- Oil your baking tray and place the focaccia on the tray, seam side down, and dock the same as above.
- Drizzle with oil and let double; this takes about eight minutes.
- Sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.
- Bake at 350°F until done.