Focaccia

Avatar thebbqbaker.com | 29th July 2018

Focaccia

Focaccia is one of my favourite things to eat, and luckily one of my favourite things to make! I have two focaccia tins, so I always like to make two up at a time. I love Peter Reinhart’s recipes, so I have chosen to make the wholemeal from his book Whole Grain Breads and the plain from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. However, this time I have used white spelt flour instead of the usual white wheat flour. Spelt has a unique flavour and offers a variety of health benefits. The methods are slightly different in the two recipes and I have made each according the steps outlined by Reinhart.

Whole Wheat Focaccia

Whole Wheat Focaccia

I mix all my doughs by hand and focaccia is no exception. I find the ingredients come together quite quickly and the olive oil in the mix gives the dough a lovely silky feeling. I have added a quarter of a teaspoon of Diastatic Malt to my wholemeal dough to improve the rise and provide a nice open crumb. As the recipe is 100% wholemeal flour it tends to be on the dense side with only a slight rise. The Diastatic Malt makes a definite difference to the finished result. The mixing for this recipe is fairly minimal and it is not long before the dough is ready to be added to an oiled focaccia tin and gently stretched to cover the base.

Spelt Focaccia

Spelt Focaccia

The process for the white spelt focaccia is quite different. After the dough is thoroughly mixed it is left to rest on the counter for half an hour. It is then stretched and folded and left to rest again. This process is repeated a couple of times before the dough is ready to place into an oiled tin. My tins measure 34cm x 24cm / 13.5in by 9.5in and are quite deep being 5cm / 2in high. I like the height of these tins as I don’t lose any oil over the sides of the tin as the dough rises.

Focaccia with Herb Oil

Fresh Herb Oil

Reinhart includes a recipe for a herb oil, however, you can create your own. I like to use a combination of fresh and dried herbs as Reinhart suggests. Once the doughs have been stretched to fit the pans the warmed oil can be spread over the tops and the dough dimpled down with your fingertips. The dough will absorb some of the oil during the long proof, so I like to add a generous amount.

Spelt Focaccia Olives & Tomato

Spelt Focaccia Olives & Tomato

During this time they are dimpled down and allowed to rise again. This process takes place several times. I also poured the remaining herb oil over the two focaccias and added olives and chopped sundried tomatoes.

Whole Wheat Focaccia

Whole Wheat Focaccia

I left my focaccias to proof in the fridge for 3 days to get the best flavour possible from the flour. They had both risen significantly during the long proof. They need removing 3-4 hours prior to baking to allow them to come to room temperature.

Spelt Focaccia

Spelt Focaccia

I cook my focaccias until they reach 200’F in the centre, which usually takes around 15 minutes for the white and 22 minutes for the wholemeal, with the bbq set to 450’F.

Whole Wheat Focaccia

Whole Wheat Focaccia

Once cooled I slice them up and freeze the individually wrapped pieces. These reheat really well and make a great morning tea snack!

Article submitted by guest writer Emily Reaver.

If you want to recreate one of the best Focaccia breads I have ever eaten and many more superb recipes I can highly recommend the following two books.

Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart


Written by thebbqbaker.com


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