The Fresh Loaf

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Rosemary Foccacia

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Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Rosemary Foccacia

I didn't have much time to bake this weekend, so I decided to fit in a simple focaccia bake to go along side a Spaghetti Pomodoro I was planning to make for dinner.

I used some recently dried home grown rosemary, freshly cracked pepper and coarse sea salt for the topping.  I also used a very nice California brand olive oil that I brought back from our recent trip to Arizona.  The flavours came through nicely but the crumb was very Wonderbread 'white bread-ish' for my liking.  I like my Focaccia with a bit of stronger structure within the crumb.  Considering I made this with very little effort and time, I can't complain for a simple and fresh-out-of-the-oven accompaniment to the pasta.

John

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

looks great John.  I'm with you on the focaccia crumb too.  The pasta looks as good as the bread.

Nice dinner!

 

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks man.  What did you have for dinner?  Let me guess, sunset on a plate?

Ya.  I used to work at a chain restaurant here in my bartending days, and they made a great focaccia.  Haven't been able to recreate that sort of crumb.  Given, everytime I have made focaccia, I seem to eyeball and rush the process, so no wonder.

John

isand66's picture
isand66

Well your Foccacia looks great as does your photography.  For better flavor try an overnight retardation.

i know the feeling about being crazy busy at work.  I've been traveling the last couple of weeks and I'm finally getting a chance to bake a little.

Cheers,

Ian

 

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hi Ian.  Good to hear from you.  I was afraid to retard it overnight as the recipe has quite a bit of active dry yeast.  Barely lasted the 2 hours in the fridge.

It feels great to be back at it after being away from home, doesn't it.  Hope you weren't away somewhere too far from home.

Happy baking!

John

isand66's picture
isand66

if you want to retard overnight to develop more flavor, simply cut back on the yeast by about 1/3 the amount.

As far as the travel goes, fortunately it was in the USA this time.  I had to assist in sales calls for Target and Walmart for a few days the past couple of weeks.

What line of work are you in yourself?  I spend half my day answering and writing emails to my overseas vendors so I know the feeling of being overwhelmed with emails.

I have a couple of doughs in the refrigerator that I plan on baking later today and tonight...hopefully something worth posting about after I get back from a short trip to my office in PA.

Regards,

Ian

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Ian.  I am about to take over my family's painting contracting business.  I basically take care of all aspects of the business other than the actual painting tool work.  I estimate the project tenders and bid on the projects, set the projects up (project management), administration, payroll, A/P, A/R, you name it.  We do large commercial/institutional and residential projects such as hi-rises, hospitals, Walmarts, etc.  Have anywhere between 20 - 40 employees out in the field, depending on the time of year.  Very difficult line of work to be in, for many reasons.  I bake bread to keep my sanity.

So are you in purchasing? Or?....I actually just shopped at a newly constructed Target store here yesterday.  I think there were about 12 first time stores built in B.C. in the last few months and more to come.  Not much painting work in those stores though so we aren't eager to go after them.

John

 

isand66's picture
isand66

Hi John,

That sounds like you have your hands full for sure.

I'm a product manager for a sporting goods wholesaler.  My job is to develop product, negotatiate pricing, write copy and work with our freelance artists to develop packaging as well as aid in  selling when necessary.  That's just a general description of the job.  We have a purchaser that I work with to make sure we order as needed as well.

This is my busy sell season right now and I've only been at this company for 6 months so I've developed a line of 100+ items for them.

I see Andy posted a recipe for Foccacia below, but if you want a simpler formula I can email you one from Peter Reinhart's book.

Ian

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Ian.  Your career sounds much more interesting than mine.  To tell you the truth, I really don't have any passion for the industry I am in.  It will pay the bills and provide me with opportunity financially.  But it is on the other end of the spectrum of where my strengths and passions lie.  Also, the fact that I carry on my parent's dedication and hard work over the years helps the motivation shine through those grey dismal days.

I would very much appreciate the formula as well.

John

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Delicious looking foccacia, John! beautiful!

-Khalid

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thank you Khalid.  Not a typical bread you would find in my home, but couldn't pass up when making this summer time pasta.  Also, good excuse to use good quality EVOO.

John

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi John,

Pasta looks great.   Use a ciabatta type dough for focaccia....an overnight biga, and a very wet dough.

Best wishes

Andy

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hi Andy.  Thank you!  If you have a formula or recipe you can share that would get the results I am after, I would greatly apprecate it.

Took me a year to master true Pomodoro sauce.  I was always trying too hard, when less involvement is the key to this pasta sauce.  Using San Marzano tomatoes helps too.

John

ananda's picture
ananda

John,

I'm teaching this tomorrow morning.

So, my recipe is shown below for the ciabatta dough.   86% Hydration!   You can take it forward yourself to make the Focaccia.

We will be enjoying aubergines [eggplant], courgettes [zuccini] and sweet red peppers.   I also have fresh basil plus some good Buffalo Mozzarella and some nice French Goats Cheese too!

I try to find English tomatoes at this time of year, although it is a hell of a challenge for domestic growers given the weather we have endured until now.   Spring has just about arrived here in the North of England!

Ciabatta Dough

Makes 6/2 ciabatta pieces @ 280g

Material/Stage

Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

Recipe [grams]

1a. Biga

 

 

 

Strong White Flour

30

270

90

Water

18

162

54

Fresh Yeast

0.1

1

0.3

TOTAL

48.1

433

144.3

 

 

 

 

1b. Rye Sourdough – built

 

 

 

Dark Rye Flour

3

27

9

Water

5

45

15

TOTAL

8

72

24

 

 

 

 

2a. Final Dough - Bassinage

 

 

 

Biga – from 1a

48.1

433

144.3

Rye Sourdough – from 1b

8

72

24

Tipo “00” flour

67

603

201

Salt

2

18

6

Fresh Yeast

1.9

17

5.7

Water

45

405

135

TOTAL

172

1548

516

 

 

 

 

2b. Final Dough – super-hydration

 

 

 

Final dough

172

1548

516

Water

17

153

51

TOTAL

189

1701

567

 

 

 

 

FACTOR

-

9

3

Method:

  •  Build the sourdough and prepare the biga the evening before.
  • To mix the dough, calculate the water temperature for a DDT 26°C, place the sourdough, biga and water into the mixing bowl, and dissolve the yeast into it.   Add the flour and salt.   Attach a dough hook and mix for 5 minutes on first speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary.   Mix on second speed for 2 minutes to develop the dough.   Add the additional water required for ciabatta and focaccia.   Attach a beater instead of the dough hook and mix to let down the wet dough.   Alternatively, mix by hand following same instructions.
  • Ferment in bulk for 2 hours, S&F every 20 minutes.
  • Scale and divide, and pre-shape dough gently.   Rest covered for 10 minutes, then gently tease out ciabatta pieces and prove “en couche” inside linen, using plenty of flour and semolina
  • Bake the ciabatta slippers in the wood-fired oven.
  • Cool on wires.

Best wishes

Andy

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Great thanks for that Andy.  However, isn't focaccia a much different texture than ciabatta?  Ciabatta has large holes with a distinct chewy, spongy texture.  The focaccia I am after has more of a lighter texture but with many many smaller holes throughout.  Or is the technique different between the two that makes the two different?

The restaurant I used to work at made the focaccia that was 5 - 6 inches high.  This high hydration ciabatta dough won't rise anywhere near that height would it?

John

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi John,

Focaccia is a Southern Italian variant on Pizza.   It is not fluffy white bread.

Best wishes

Andy

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Fair enough Andy.  I will give this formula a go and see if it turns out close to what I am after.  This photo I found on the internet represents pretty much exactly what I am hoping to recreate:

John

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi John,

Photos below from an exam performance by an exemplary student of mine.   I'm sure he won't mind me showcasing them.

He used my ciabatta formula to make these Red Onion, and Rosemary and rock Salt slices.

The slightly different texture in the focaccia comes from making it as a large traybake with weighty fillings, so the dough does not support the larger gas bubbles seen in the individual ciabatta slipper.   However, as you can see, the texture should be open, not fluffy white bread at all.   Best achieved with a softer "00" type flour of course.

 

 

Picture3Picture4Picture2Picture1

All good wishes

Andy

 

 

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Andy.  Those do look great.  I have actually had Focaccia such as those as well.  That is quite close to what I am seeking so I will surely give it a try.

Thanks again for responding!

John

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hey John,

Splendid meal!

Cheers,
Phil

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks Phil.  I am practicing a bit more on photographing meals now and not just bread.  Any tips or feedback on any I post would be greatly appreciated.

John

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Looks amazing! Did you make it yourself?

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thank you so much Barbara.  Yes, I did.  Took me a year to finally 'master' a more authentic Pomodoro.  I am a much better cook than I am a baker.  I just don't tend to post my cooking unless it is accompanied by some home baked bread.  To keep things on topic.

Pomodoro sauce is actually quite simple once you learn that less is more and the key is to get the most fresh and quality ingredients you can get your hands on.  Extra virgin olive oil, canned San Marzano tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh basil, garlic (not too much), salt, crushed red chilies.

Thank you again for the compliment.

John

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

You are quite welcome! I now feel like I must try my hand at this. One of the things I love about this forum is that it gives me inspiration to try different things, and when I see a beautiful palate like this, I can't resist. I love making pasta, and so I will use your photo as a springboard.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Great to hear Barabara.  If you want any tips on how to prepare this pasta please do drop me a note and I will be more than happy to share.

John

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I sent you a private message.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

am a a closet chef first and baker way second.  I can see that we need to get you curing and smoking your own meats like pastrami, corned beef and all the worldwide cured and smolked sausage and fish out there to make.  Just anoither one fo the things, like bread baking,  you need to know how to do.... to be an all around decent cook :-) 

Happy cooking John

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Good to hear that you enjoy cooking as well.  I only smoke fish and bbq meats, but have never cure smoked before.  Being of European background, my weakness is cured meats, cheeses, breads, etc.

We have some of the world's best smoked salmon here in Vancouver.  I am a sucker for maple candy smoked salmon.

Before my trip to Mesa, I had never tried authentic pastrami or corned beef.  While down there I tried them and was pleasantly surprised how good it was.  Up here, I have only tried our supermarket versions and in a few restaurants, and they all seemed to taste like hot dog, which is quite an unpleasant flavour when not expecting it.

Happy cooking to you too!

John

Blacksilk Helen's picture
Blacksilk Helen

Beautiful bread!  Did you use a poolish, biga, or is this a straight dough?

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thank you very much.  I used the simplest formula I could find (apperently a Julia Child's recipe), which did not use a poolish or biga.  I needed a quick bread for dinner so I did not go through the over night process.  I am positive that a formula using a biga or poolish would result in a MUCH better bread.  Notice I did not post much of a crumb photo. Let's just say the star of this bake was the exterior and toppings.  Oh, and the pasta :)

John