The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Focaccia 3 ways with Poolish-controlled ferment

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ehanner's picture
ehanner

Focaccia 3 ways with Poolish-controlled ferment

I got the bug to make Hamelmans Focaccia with Poolish a few days ago. It started with watching Frankie G's video on the subject and seeing him use 1/4 sheet pans. I liked the size and all the toppings got me drooling. So I ordered the 1/4 sheet pans from Frankie G which came with a cool trivet counter saver (thanks FG). I like the Poolish version of the Ciabatta dough which is Hamelmans dough for his Focaccia. The additional 10% fermented flour helps the flavor develop during the Poolish build up, overnight.

Every year about this time is when my baking starts to get weird. Just when I was thinking I could predict yeast activity in my preferment's, the season starts to change and everything takes longer. This year would be better I said. I no longer care that it's going to be 36F outside and a chilly 63F in the kitchen. My preferment's are happy working away in my new Folding Proofer. I set the temperature at 73F after mixing equal parts of flour and water and went to bed. I try to be mindful of Hamelmans suggestion for watching the dome of the expanding mix and waiting for it to start to fall in the center before mixing the final dough. I want the most effect from the preferment possible.

It's so nice to not to have to open the container holding the fermenting dough to check it. Peeking through the clear plastic viewing window is so easy. I'm watching for the first indication that my preferment is done. Right at 16 hours as JH said, it was done. The starter finishing  temperature was at 75F, just as it was upon mixing. That's professional style temperature control which will show up later.

I fermented the dough also at 75F for 1-1/2 hours and divided into 3 globs, shaped and transferred into my new pans. I had stewed 2 large onions for the topping on one pan. Another was going to get rosemary treated olive oil, some fresh rosemary and an assortment of seeds and garlic/onions. This one would get a final application of Mozzarella after baking, under the broiler. The third pan was a sweet offering with red grapes and sugar.

We sent a big slice of each of these to the neighbors. They turned out great. The flavor of the bread is full and complex. This is the best Ciabatta/Focaccia I have ever made. It HAS to be the watchful eye on the fermentation.  I had not made the grapes and sugar before. Next time I will use more sugar especially over each grape. This was really good. The onions were so sweet from being stewed that one was my favorite. Oh well maybe the savory pan was my favorite. Ummmm good.

Eric


Ready to bake.


The grapes found a pocket to hold the juice.

Onion and Rosemary

Great crumb on all 3 but this onion with rosemary was heavenly.

Savory just out of the oven.

Savory with melted Mozz Cheese

Comments

chefscook's picture
chefscook

Looks good I will make this over the weekend I will be using oregano,basil and mozz cheese

ehanner's picture
ehanner

That sounds good chefcook, It's really a lot like pizza but the toppings have opened my eyes to the possibilities. Thanks for your comment.

Eric

lumos's picture
lumos

Both look really yummy!

Thank you for sharing. You made me drool so much, and it's not even 8 am yet here in UK!  Suddenly  a toasted bagel on my plate looks really boring......:p

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Great to hear you are drooling, lol. I'm sure the bagel was delicious.

Eric

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

even onions look appealing to me thanks to your focaccias. Great, Eric!!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Onions are magical are they not? I concluded I should have made more and perhaps dried them slightly with the lid off at the end.

Eric

varda's picture
varda

of focaccias and you've got me thinking about that proofer.  -Varda

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thank you Varda. Honestly I have never made a ciabbata or fucaccia dough that turned out so well. The only thing I did differently was to be sure the poolish and then the dough were properly fermented. The emphasis on "properly". Being able to provide a stable temperature through out the process makes a difference. Being able to easily see the process as it progresses, without disturbing the container is also important.

I'm pretty sure when I do my next batch of rye I will see the same benefits in being able to observe the cracks open on the top of the dough. Being able to manage temperature is so important with rye and wholemeal breads, I'm excited to try it.

Eric

audra36274's picture
audra36274

      I told you I loved onion best, but after seeing your pics this morning, now I'm not so sure. They both look great. And I'm loving the controlled temp on the new toy!  The proofer box will make it  much easier in cold winter days to achieve bakery type results that we all crave. I don't see how you could have made those turn out any better! Yummy!!! Hmmm....are there any onions and grapes in here.... off to check

ehanner's picture
ehanner

With the three types of focaccia, we had enough variety of flavors it made a meal for dinner. A nice soup would have been good though.

Eric

proth5's picture
proth5

yesterday - snow tonight.  Good thing the proofer has been shipped :>)

Do the 1/4 sheet pans fit in the proofer or did they rise free range?

Nice bread....

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Pat,

I did the bulk pre-ferment in a plastic container and the 1/4 sheet pans on the counter. The 1/4 sheet pans DO fit nicely however and I plan on rigging some legs to hold another wire rack above to handle 2 pans at once.

Thanks, was tasty.

Eric

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Hi Eric,  Your focaccia looks absolutely delicious!

I have folding leg cooling cake/cookie racks that I just love.  They hold a 1/4 sheet pan perfectly.  The legs can be folded under for just a regular height rack or out to stand apx. 3" up.  The 3 racks or 2 if you like or single one, can be stacked on top of each other..just great item..

I can't remember where I bought mine...but you can get them at Amazon.com.  Wilton makes them... 3 Piece Stackable Cooling Racks..under $15 bucks.  I think they might fit perfect inside your proofer.

Funny, I'm planning on ordering the proofer tomorrow..do you think this would fit inside?

Sylvia

added photo   

                           Just measured 6" from bottom of sheet pan to top rack....about 3" between 2 racks

                            don't mean to highjack your post..but I think you might love these for the proofer.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sylvia,

It measures 15x12.5x8 inches open. My 1/4 sheet pans have plenty of room. What are the dimensions of your folding racks? Here is the spec sheet page.

Eric

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

They are 9 1/2" X 13"  When the legs are down there is apx. 3" of space between the racks.  Will fit inside with room to spare. Legs folded up the rack sits about an inch off the counter.  

I often sit my large cooling rack, that sits to close to the counter for good air circulation, across one of these so there is more room for air to circulate under the cooling breads.

Sylvia

ehanner's picture
ehanner

You don't happen to remember where you picked it up do you?

Do I remember you bake in a WFO now and then?

Eric

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Target, Walmart, Michael's...probably...., Target!  I've had them for a long time..I tend to forget things, I won't be needing 2 or more of...'lol'.   You have a good memory, Eric.

Amazon.com will ship Wilton's, free shipping.

Sylvia

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sylvia, If I try real hard I might be able to tell you what I had for lunch yesterday. Forget about the day before. At 64 that's my reality, Lol

Eric

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

At 66 it's easy to forget to eat lunch!  I usually skip lunch..can't exercise enough to keep the weight off..forgetting lunch helps 'lol'

By the way slicing a nice thick focaccia's in half make for great dinner sandwiches!

Sylvia

ehanner's picture
ehanner

That sounds like a good plan, skipping lunch. We had reheated focaccia last night as a fill in with chicken. It would have been better as a sandwich. Good idea, thanks.

 

Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I was thinking that you could use the proofer box in close proximity to the outdoor WFO to hold the dough. Then you could shape it for pizza right there and pop it in the oven. Also you could proof a batard or two and make easy work out of scoring and on the peel right from the proofer. I think the heat pad in the unit would hold the temp at a fairly low ambient.

Eric

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

The distance from kitchen to WFO is not a problem with pizza's and bread.  I'm thinking about the community WFO's. where bakers and cooks brought their breads and meals from home. 

The scoring is best done right on the peel in front of the oven.  So a table sits close in front of the wfo.  I do have an outdoor wall plug very close to the oven.  The proofer would be nice to hold the dough outside for a party when everyone makes their own pizza...is it okay to plug these type of appliances in outdoors?  The outdoor wall plugs are made for this, but I'm not sure if the appliance needs or has a special 3 prong plug?  If not, kitchen to wfo is not a problem.

Sylvia

ps..you can also use smaller round cake pans for the focaccia.  Ciril Hitz formula makes a very nice thick focaccia for slicing in half to make sandwich wedges.  

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Eric, I agree onions are magical. I like the looks of your foccacia, beautiful in every way. Can you tell us a little about the stewing process? Water or other liquid?  I am thinking it might be a time saver compared to carmelizing them. Between the stewing and baking they would/should sweeten up quite well. I have baked a foccacia using whole litte onions, and will post the pix.

 Regards, Ray

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Ray,

I thin sliced two large onions and put them in a medium HD pan with 1/2 stick of butter. A pinch of salt and stirred early on while the butter was melting. Once all the onions were coated I turned the gas all the way down to the lowest position, covered and let it set for over an hour. They were not caramelized but blond and very sweet and flavorful. At this point they were quite moist and should have been simmered uncovered to dry them some. Otherwise I think you get a slightly soggy result under the onions. I topped the onions with sprigs of rosemary and drizzled rosemary infused olive oil over all and fresh cracked pepper.

Eric

rayel's picture
rayel

Thanks Eric. I will try this the next time I use onions for focaccia, or pizza. Looks easy and straight forward.

Still smarting over mispelling focaccia, three time in a row. I am consistent, same error all three.

Ray

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Haha, I do that all the time. I'm so paranoid I spell check my own name, lol.

Eric

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely looking foccacia, Eric! Never made one myself. I seem to associate their flavor with plain pizza dough, so i never baked one, yet. But your look great! I wonder how a wholewheat foccacia would taste!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks my friend. I haven't tried that but my favorite pita breads have 20% WW in them and same with bagels also. I like the sweetness of fine ground WW. I'll bet it would be good. Let me know if you try it.

Cheers,

Eric