Focaccia is one of these breads that won’t last more than an hour in my house after it comes out of the oven.
The process of bread making always leaves my mind restored and refreshed as the activity is meditative. Not surprisingly more often than not, while I tear into my focaccia just hot out of the oven, an insight out of reach from a therapy session occurred a few hours or days ago suddenly appeared to me. Focaccia making, just like other meditative activities, is “psychotherapists’ little helper”. 🙂
Mine is the sourdough “variety”.
While proofing takes time, and the end result addictive, it’s one of the easiest breads for anyone.
Some claim that especially for sourdough starter, one ought not to use stainless steel but glass bowls for the dough. The reason being stainless steel “reacts” and kill the more fragile kinds of wild yeast. So far this is a “rumor” as I have no confirmed the statement one way or the other but I use glass whenever I can, better safe than sorry. However if stainless steel is what you have, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
You take about a cup of your sourdough starter – more or less is fine.
Add a bit of sugar – I add 2 table spoon of organic raw or crushed sugar cane “rock”.
A generous “helping” of Himalayan pink salt, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon – I hand grind the coarse into fine powder with my trusted mortar and pestle.
Add 2 cups of your preferred flour – whole wheat, spelt, all purpose, whatever you like.
Then add what is in the “heart” of focaccia – 1/4 cup of your best olive oil in your pantry.
I also throw in a farm fresh egg, a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar, and some viili or kefir if I have extra on hand that day. However, none of these are essential to an amazing loaf of focaccia so don’t sweat it if you don’t have them.
Use a wooden spoon to stir everything together and add as much or little water needed for the dough to be soft and sticky. You won’t be able to use your hand much so use a utensil to turn it over a few times.
Cover and let sit in a warm and humid place until it doubled or tripled its size. In general, mine takes between 12-24 hours.
Fold the dough a few times to let the air out and then roll out the dough with as little dusting flour as you can to about an inch of thickness.
Cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper and brush your best olive oil on it.
Transfer your rolled out dough to the cookie sheet. Put it on the lower rack of the oven. Turn on the oven light and let rise until the dough double its thickness. It will take about an hour or two.
Poke deep holes all over the dough. Pour more of your best olive oil and brush it all over. They will pool in the holes – that’s your aim.
Sprinkle any spice or herb you like: salt, pepper, rosemary, fried onions and/or garlic. Whatever you fancy.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Bake until golden – When you tap on top, it will sound hollow.
Please try to wait until it cools down – I have burnt my hand and mouth many times as it smells too amazing to wait. 🙂