Greek Sourdough Focaccia take two

Greek Sourdough Focaccia take two

I had some success with my last focaccia and wanted another go at it to improve the crumb.  This time I did a direct dough and baked it same day.  That bake had an overnight cold retard.  I also extended the proof to 5.5 hours from the original recipe posted by Maurizio on The Perfect Loaf.  What follows is my adjusted recipe for one or two 9” pans and adjusted instructions.

9” round pan

Total dough weight 450 g

Levain 19%

Hydration 76%

 

Weight

Ingredient

Baker’s Percentage

95g

All-purpose flour 10% protein

38.4%

131g

High protein bread flour 13% protein

61.6%

4.5g

Extra virgin olive oil

2.00%

172g

Water

76.00%

4.13g

Salt

1.80%

43g

Levain (100% hydration)

19.00%

 

Total flour 247.5g

 

Levain build 1:6:6 75ºC 8-9 hours

4 g starter + 24 g water + 24 g bread flour

 

9”x13” pan or two 9” round pans

Total dough weight 900 g

Levain 19%

Hydration 76%

 

Weight

Ingredient

Baker’s Percentage

190g

All-purpose flour 10% protein

38.4%

262g

High protein bread flour 13% protein

61.6%

9g

Extra virgin olive oil (Jovial Olio Nuovo Organic Olive Oil)

2.00%

344g

Water

76.00%

8.26g

Salt

1.80%

86g

Sourdough starter (100% hydration)

19.00%

 

Levain build 1:6:6 75ºC 8-9 hours

 

7 g starter + 42 g water + 42 g bread flour

Method

Mix – 9:00 a.m.

This dough can be mixed by hand (I would use the slap and fold technique) or with a stand mixer like a KitchenAid.

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add both the flours, water, salt, and ripe sourdough starter (hold back the olive oil until later in mixing). 

Mix on speed 1 for 1 to 2 minutes until incorporated. Then, mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes until dough strengthens and clumps around the dough hook. Let the dough rest in the mixing bowl for 10 minutes.

Next, turn the mixer on to speed 1 and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while mixing. Once all of the olive oil is absorbed, turn the mixer up to speed 2 for 1 to 2 minutes until the dough comes back together.

Transfer your dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.

This highly hydrated and enriched dough is  wet and loose , it won’t strengthen to the same degree as a typical bread dough.

Immediately after mixing the dough is still very wet and chunky. However, it’s not falling apart or soupy. Resist the temptation to add more flour at this point, as you can see below in the image at the right, by the middle of bulk fermentation it’ll strengthen after several sets of stretch and folds.

 

Transfer the dough to a covered container for bulk fermentation.

 

Bulk Fermentation – 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Give the dough 4 sets of stretch and folds, starting 30 minutes after mixing, and a set every 30 minutes thereafter.

Every 30 minutes for the remaining 2 hours of bulk fermentation gently stretch the dough, with wet hands, toward the corners of the rectangular container. The dough will resist stretching and spring back (especially with the oil underneath), but don’t force it—each time you stretch it’ll relax a bit more and eventually fill the container.

 

Proof – 11:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Transfer the dough to a deep rectangular pan that’s been greased with olive oil. If you don’t have a pan with a silicone liner, make sure to heavily oil the pan’s interior so the focaccia doesn’t stick during baking.

At 76-78°F (24-25°C), the dough will proof for 4 hours. This time period is flexible and dependent on the temperature: if it’s cooler, let it proof longer, and conversely, if it’s warm, you might be able to bake sooner.

 

Every 30 minutes for the first hour, uncover the pan and gently stretch the dough with wet hands to the pan’s edges to encourage it to fill the pan. The dough will naturally spread out during this proofing period, so it’s unnecessary to spread the dough aggressively. Once the dough is mostly spread to the edges, cover the pan and proof for 4 hours.

 

I felt that the focaccia needed 5.5 hour of proof and would consider going even longer next time.

Top & Bake – 3:15 p.m.

First, dimple the unadorned dough with wet fingers. Make sure the dimples are evenly spaced and go all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Then, drizzle on 1-2 tablespoons of your extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and coarse sea salt. If using other toppings, add them now as well—I like to press them into the dough gently.

 

Bake the focaccia in the oven at 450°F (232°C) until deeply colored on top, about 30 minutes. Rotate the pan front-to-back halfway through this time. Keep an eye on it during the last 5 minutes and pull it out if it’s coloring too quickly, or leave it in longer if you’d like it a little darker.

 

Let the focaccia cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. It’s fantastic warm from the oven, and best on the day of baking, but it’ll keep well for a couple days loosely wrapped in foil (reheat under the broiler before serving).

 

Of note, I found that baking the focaccia in the cake pan resulted in much better oven spring than the one baked in the cast iron skillet.  Because both were proofed in their baking vessels the cast iron takes a lot longer to heat and as a result by the time the dough gets hot enough to rise, the top crust is starting to set.  Whereas the focaccia baked in the thin cake pan, while also cool at the beginning of baking, heated much more quickly before the crust started to set and ended up with much great oven spring and lovely bubbles which I like to see in focaccia.  If I want to make two focaccia at a time again, I may need to purchase another 9” cake pan.

 

These were topped with locally grown cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, shallots, feta (the feta and shallots were buried beneath the tomatoes and olives) olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.  This made a wonderful dinner what a simple salad.  I love this combination and you should give it a try, feta is wonderful on focaccia.