Monday, January 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises January: Focaccia

When I first started making bread, I read a lot about hydration and was pretty sure that I would never make anything with a hydration higher than 70%. In fact, when I first made rolls without knowing the hydration of the starter the recipe writer used, I was horrified at the wet dough in front of me. I started throwing in as much flour as I could and it just never seemed enough.

And then I saw a video of Martha Stewart making focaccia. I wanted it.  I didn't care about the high hydration. I had to have it. It went well. I loved my first focaccia and really wanted to make one again. But there were so many other breads to make do it never happened. So of course, I was extremely excited when Sourdough Surprises announced focaccia for this month.

I made this on Christmas Eve and enjoyed pieces with breakfast on Christmas morning. I tried to be a little creative and make a pattern on my focaccia. (Can you guess what it is? Hint: It should have been a flag.) The pattern wasn't perfect but, the taste was amazing!

I adapted Peter Reinhardt's focaccia in ... It's a long x hours before you can bite into your bread. Worth it? Perhaps. I'll let you know when I make one that is done in a shorter time frame and can compare the two.

Sourdough Focaccia

Adapted from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday
Garlic Oil
4 oz olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed 

18 oz flour
12.5 oz water
4.5 oz sourdough starter
0.5 oz oil

Banana Peppers

Warm the 4 oz of olive oil and add the cloves of garlic and set aside. 

Combine flour, water and starter for one minute. Allow to rest for 20 minutes then add oil and 0.5 oz of oil. Resume mixing on medium to low speed with a paddle attachment for 1 minute. The dough will be extremely sticky. Using a wet bowl scraper, transfer dough to an oiled bowl and let rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stretch and fold* the dough inside the bowl. Then let rest. Repeat this 3 more times. 

After the final stretch and fold, line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of garlic oil over the pan then transfer it to the pan. Drizzle another tablespoon of oil over the dough then use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it over about half of the pan. Make sure that the dough is covered in oil then cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator, drizzle some oil over the dough and begin working the dough from the center to cover the entire pan. When the dough starts resisting, stop, cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. Drizzle more oil then dimple the dough for another minute moving it to cover the entire pan. 

Cover and let rise at room temperature for 11/2- 2 hours. 

Preheat oven to 500 F. 

Top with more oil, if needed, olives and peppers. Place pan in oven and lower temperature to 450 F. Bake for 12 minutes then rotate pan and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes. The underside should be mottled golden brown. 

Transfer focaccia while still on parchment or mat to a wire rack. Cool slightly then serve.

*Stretch & Fold Video by Peter Reinhart
Stretch & Fold Video by Weekend Bakery
More Stretch & Fold


  1. That looks great! The garlic oil sounds like a brilliant addition.

  2. The stretch and fold method has me intrigued. I'll have to read up on it.

    1. Oh! I should have been a better blogger and explained that it linked to explanations. I'll look for some later and post links.

  3. Garlic flavored oil, banana peppers - oh yes, this sounds delicious!

  4. That looks beautiful, and I bet it tasted even better. Awesome focaccia!

  5. I love the addition of banana peppers and garlic oil~ Looks delicious~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  6. Awesome job on your focaccia! I do the same thing sometimes - have no interest in something until I see something amazing that someone made and then I have to have it myself! LOL. Sometimes it just takes the right amount of persuasion!

    1. Thanks! That's pretty much how my sourdough baking started too.

  7. Well done! I am totally going with the stretch and fold method next time!

    1. It's such a great technique for dealing with sticky dough. Sadly, I often forget it. I was glad to be reminded of it when I made the focaccia.

  8. I'll have to try that kneading technique sometime. Your focaccia looks beautiful!

  9. The stretch-and-fold method was a revelation to me when I first learned it, and now I don't even use my stand mixer anymore! That flag idea is great!

    1. Right? I used to do it a lot before I got my mixer.

  10. Stretch and fold-- sounds like yoga

  11. Yay for facing your hydration fears! This looks great!