Focaccia and I are old friends and share a casual, anything-goes relationship over ingredient add-ins and toppings. Minty Focaccia with Lemon and Pine Nuts remains my favorite to date, but topping choices do tend to vary from one batch to the next. When SourdoughSurprises selected focaccia as this month's feature, I thought "Easy peasy, been there, done that." Hah! what a surprise to find I had no 100% sourdough focaccia recipes in my files. Zero... zippo... nada... none! Why not? because I usually add sourdough starter to the commercial yeast called for in conventional bread or pizza recipes for a faster, no-need-to-plan-days-ahead process. Okay, this was the perfect opportunity to dive right in and let the sourdough starter perform its magic.
My starter was refreshed and ready to work but I wasn't, I procrastinated until late evening. So much for planning ahead! That extra time encouraged me to play with the recipe a tiny bit, adding a heaping teaspoon of Za'atar to the dough. A 9:30pm start meant either a thru-the-night baking session or inserting a delay in the process. I went for the delay, splitting the first rise into two portions; 1 hour in my 67 F kitchen, followed by a gentle folding of the dough and an 8-hour overnight stay at 40 F on a shelf in the garage. Back inside the warm kitchen the next morning the dough warmed up, was stretched in the pan and sat through it's second rise. Dimpled and topped with lightly caramelized onions, kalamata olives, shredded fresh Parmesan, more Za'atar and some coarse sea salt, this focaccia was ready to hit the oven.
|Photo: Focaccia with toppings, ready to bake.|
|Photo: Just-baked Focaccia Cooling on Bakers Rack|
The crisp golden brown crust provided a satisfying crunch and the interior of the loaf was soft and chewy, though with a tighter crumb and less oven spring than expected. The loaf rose more than crackers or flatbread, but I had hoped for more loft. Hmmm, did that overnight delay impact the rise? did I forget the honey? was there a flour issue? did I stretch the dough too thin? I'll have to sort all that out next time, when I actually do plan ahead properly.
|Photo: A Square of Onion & Olive Topped, Herb-flavored Focaccia|
|Photo: Stacks of Focaccia Squares|
*Split and buttered: not recommended, and this comes from someone who loves butter.
*Dipped in olive oil: yes! and next time add some balsamic vinegar to the EVOO.
*Split and spread with Fig Preserves: my absolute favorite bite, and I will definitely enjoy this combo again.
*Split and used to hold a soppresata & cheese sandwich: delicious, of course!
|Photo: Focaccia with Fig Preserves|
Isn't it amazing what flour, water, olive oil, honey and salt can produce when combined with sourdough yeasties?! Now I can't wait to enjoy more focaccia recipes from other Sourdough Surprises bakers.