Monday, May 18, 2020

How to make Sourdough Focaccia

How to make sourdough focaccia that is perfectly crisp and chewy on the outside and soft inside. Super flavorful and has the tang of sourdough.





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Sourdough, a bread that has always been popular and a process that has gained limelight in the last few weeks. 

This type of bread needs just flour, water and salt to prepare. No looking for yeast and no fancy ingredients needed. The ONLY thing it really needs is patience and that too in a good measure. 


If you are ready to follow a consistent routine and have patience, you can make a sourdough starter at home with just flour and water. There are plenty of methods available to follow. 



Once you have a mature starter that is rising and falling consistently, the world of sourdough opens up. From recipes using the starter to using the discard; there are SO many great things to explore. 


I made a starter using all purpose flour and wheat flour and have been baking with it for a few weeks now. Finally, after making quite a few loaves and breads; I am confident of sharing this one.  


The recipe works with any kind of mature starter, not just the one with wheat and all purpose flour. Here is a great starter recipe if you need one. 





What makes it SO good?


When starting the sourdough journey, it helps to start with easier breads. This focaccia is one of them. 

With just some rising required, it helped me believe in my starter before I start off with more complex breads. 

The flavors of sourdough in the resultant bread is unbelievable. It turned out so good that I end up baking this bread every week now. And finally the recipe is here! 

The focaccia is crisp and golden on the top and soft inside. With the tang of sourdough, this bread is great as a side or appetizer. 


Made using sourdough starter this recipe needs just flour, water, starter and olive oil. 

The toppings can be added based on what you like. Olives, vegetables and herbs work really well on this bread. 


Time taken to make this recipe 


This recipe has various steps and total time of about 24 hours. With a few steps of fermentation, the recipe needs to be started the day before for it to work out really well.

If you are pressed for time, start the recipe early in the morning and with a shorter refrigerator proofing time you can get it ready for dinner. 

I generally like to start with my starter at about 10 am and make the dough at 2 or 3 pm. With the stretch and folds and bulk fermentation; the dough is ready to be popped in the refrigerator by 8 pm. 


The next day it is ready to be enjoyed for lunch or dinner! 




A few points to consider


The success of the recipe depends on a variety of things. Here are some pointers to get started:

  • Start with a mature starter. That means the starter rises and falls at regular intervals. 
  • The starter needs to be fed and should be active when starting. To ensure, you can do a float test; though it is not 100% accurate. 
  • Use a digital scale rather than cup measures. If you intend to bake sourdough often, having one is a great idea. 
  • Make sure the dough bulk ferments at a constant temperature. This can be done in the oven with the light on or in the instant pot.

Using the Instant Pot to proof the dough


Using the instant pot for any kind of proofing is a great idea. The only catch is that it works for instant pots with the yogurt function. 

The low setting for yogurt maintains the ambient temperature needed to proof the dough. It cuts down the time needed to about half from 2 hours to an hour.

To proof in the instant pot, spread some olive oil in the inner pot. Place the dough and cover with a kitchen towel.

Close the lid, set mode to yogurt and low. Set time to 60 minutes and you are all set! 




Storing tips


After the focaccia is baked and enjoyed, if you have leftovers (we rarely ever do), wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and pop it in the refrigerator or freezer. 

Focaccia can be refrigerated for a couple of days and frozen for 1-2 months! 


What to serve with this bread?


We love our focaccia withe some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It is great with marinara sauce too.


To serve it with an entree; totally recommend Cauliflower Sauce Mac n CheeseOne Pot Pasta in Creamy Pumpkin SauceRed Lentil Pasta with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Sicilian Eggplant and Mushroom Penne.

Or serve it with a hearty bowl of Broccoli Cheddar SoupMinestrone Soup or Loaded Baked Potato and Cauliflower Soup.


Steps to make Sourdough Focaccia

To make the dough


Feed the starter with flour and water. Place in a warm place for 2-4 hours. 




Once the starter doubles and is bubbly, remove 90 grams of the starter. 

In a large bowl add the starter and water. Mix for 5 minutes using a spatula or hand till the starter is well distributed.




Add the flour and salt. Mix well till a wet and shaggy dough is formed. It will not be super dry but do not worry. 




In a large bowl spread some olive oil. Place the dough in it and cover. 

Stretch and fold


After 30 minutes open the cover and fold the dough on all sides. To do so,  wet your fingers with water. Stretch the dough from the bottom and fold it to the top. 

Cover and repeat it 3 more times, spaced out by 30 minutes.

This is how it looks after 4 stretches.



Bulk Fermentation


After the dough has been stretched and folded four times in all, let it rest covered in a warm place for 2 hours. Or use an instant pot to proof in an hour.



Overnight Fermentation


Meanwhile spread 2 tbsp olive oil in a high walled 9x13 inches cookie tray. Place the dough in it and lightly spread it to cover the tray. 

Cover it with plastic wrap or a towel and place in the refrigerator. It can be there from 4 hours to up to 24 hours. 

Preparing to bake


A couple of hours before baking remove the tray from the refrigerator and let the dough warm up to room temperature. 

Preheat oven to 450 F/ 230 C. Prepare the toppings. 

Once the dough has rested for an hour, it will be bubbly and gassy. 

Using fingers coated with olive oil dimple the dough and spread the vegetables and sprinkle the seasoning. Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil.



Baking the focaccia


Bake the focaccia for 20-22 minutes, till the top looks crisp and golden brown spots appear. 

Remove and serve with a side of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It can also be served with some marinara sauce. 



Ingredients 

For the focaccia

Mature Sourdough starter 90 grams
All purpose flour 545 grams
Water 390 grams
Sea Salt 15 grams
Olive Oil 14 grams

For the toppings

Olive Oil 4 tbsp
Red and green peppers 1/4 cup, sliced
Onion 1/4 cup, sliced
JalapeƱos 6-8

Method

Feed the starter with flour and water. Place in a warm place for 2-4 hours. Once the starter doubles and is bubbly, remove 90 grams of the starter.

In a large bowl add the starter and water. Mix for 5 minutes using a spatula or hand till the starter is well distributed.

Add the flour and salt. Mix well till a wet and shaggy dough is formed. It will not be super dry but do not worry.

In a large bowl spread some olive oil. Place the dough in it and cover.

After 30 minutes open the cover and fold the dough on all sides. To do so, wet your fingers with water. Stretch the dough from the bottom and fold it to the top.

Cover and repeat it 3 more times, spaced out by 30 minutes.

After the dough has been stretched and folded four times in all, let it rest covered in a warm place for 2 hours. Or use an instant pot to proof in an hour.

Meanwhile spread 2 tbsp olive oil in a high walled 9x13 inches cookie tray. Place the dough in it and lightly spread it to cover the tray.

Cover it with plastic wrap or a towel and place in the refrigerator. It can be there from 4 hours to up to 24 hours.

A couple of hours before baking remove the tray from the refrigerator and let the dough warm up to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450 F/ 230 C. Prepare the toppings. Once the dough has rested for an hour, it will be bubbly and gassy.

Using fingers coated with olive oil dimple the dough and spread the vegetables and sprinkle the seasoning. Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil.

Bake the focaccia for 20-22 minutes, till the top looks crisp and golden brown spots appear.

Remove and serve with a side of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It can also be served with some marinara sauce.




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