The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sourdough focaccia

  • Pin It
davidg618's picture
davidg618

sourdough focaccia

Focaccia is one of our favorite breads for sandwiches. We've found tuna fish salad, Italian sausage with carmalized onions and peppers, and grilled portabella mushrooms with red pepper aoili are especially good. The freezer is well stocked with lean sourdough loaves, and baguettes so for this week's sourdough bake I made focaccia. This 72% hydrated loaf is 100% KA Bread flour (17% prefermented in the levain) 4.2% extra-virgin olive oil, and 2% salt. The dough was retarded 15 hours overnight, and baked at 400°F  in a convection oven. We cut it into 4" squares, and freeze it thawing only what we need for a meal.

David G

Comments

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Really really nice crumb for only 72% hydration (I know that sounds crazy as 72% is where it starts to get slack) but I've made focaccias that rival the hydration of low level ciabattas to get this open crumb.  The cold bulk ferment must have helped with this.  Looks just great.  What kind of pan do you use?  

Happy Baking

josh

davidg618's picture
davidg618

The focaccia was baked in a parchment lined half-sheet pan.

I agree, I use cold fermentation for most breads I make. However, I use a wine cooler at 54°F in lieu a household refrigerator at 38°F - 40°F. I get good open crumb at as little as 65%. Here is an example:

These baguettes were hydrated at only 65%, and bulk fermented (commercial yeast) at 54°F for about 15 hours.

Thanks for the encouragement.

David G

isand66's picture
isand66

Looks great.  I bet that certainly makes a perfect sandwich bread.  I was just saying after John posted his Foccacia that it's about time I make some myself.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...with this dough for the last few weeks. I've made sandwich buns, and pizza pies with it simply changing the shaping. I didn't take pics of the buns, but plan on making another dozen soon. Pulled pork with Carolina style BBQ sauce works well with this focaccia.

If you don't have a favorite focaccia formula of your own, give this one a try.

David G

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I would like to make a sandwich / panini out of  that bread.

Nice baking/

davidg618's picture
davidg618

It's been a fun couple of bakes, and a change of pace from sourdough batards. And I'm trying to convince my wife she should by me a panini press for my birthday ;-)

David G 

evonlim's picture
evonlim

Love those big holes in the focaccia! A keeper indeed.
Evon

davidg618's picture
davidg618

From a functional point of view, open crumb breads with a near flatbread physical profile are great for sandwiches, while preserving your shirt-front and lap from drippings;-)

David G

golgi70's picture
golgi70

The baguettes look awesome. Would you share that formula?  How do they rank compared to others?  I looked and my focaccia is 90% roughly using pâté fermente and yeast. Same crumb at best. 

Great baking

josh

davidg618's picture
davidg618

The formula is very simple:

100% King Arthur AP flour

65% Water (I usually use 67% water)

2% Salt

1/2 tsp Instant dry yeast (IDY)

I'm convinced, however, the open crumb is due primarily on how one manipulates the dough, and its long, cool bulk fermentation. Rather than repeat myself, look below at the response to Khalid. If you have more questions give don't hesitate: ask.

An alternative is make a poolish:

1/2 the total flour, equal weight of water (100% hydration), 1/8th teaspoon IDY. Mix, cover, and let stand at room temperature 8 to 16 hours (I typically do 8)

Add salt, and remaining flour and water. Reduce additional yeast to 1/4 tsp. Proceed as usual.

Happy baking

David G

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely open crumb, David. Isn't it extra chewy with the KA bread flour?

-Khalid

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I use 100% KA All Purpose flour in baguettes regardless of what hydration I use. My usual formula is 67% hydrated, made with commercial yeast, although in my exploration of baguettes I varied the hydration (65% to 72%). I did the 65% hydration to confirm the long, cold bulk ferment contribution to open crust. 67% yields a good, open crumb with KA AP flour, and a reasonably soft crumb too despite the relatively high protein content. Sometime ago I experimented with other brands of AP flour including KA's french style flour. They all produced good, open crumb, but the flavor wasn't there. One regionally popular brand actually produced a very bad-tasting flavor. KA AP, and the long ferment deliver an intense wheaty flavor we love (especially my wife). I also found natural levain mutes the wheaty flavor, still a nice baguette, but commercial yeast is preferred.

The focaccia is made with bread flour; it's crumb is only lightly chewy softened by the olive oil.  I use the higher protein flour because it makes handling the wet dough a bit easier. I've made this dough three times in the past three weeks. All ingredients were exactly the same--including the same bag of flour--in both amounts and ratios. And with one exception the doughs were mixed, manipulated, fermented, shaped and baked in exactly the same manner.

The one exception was their gluten-building manipulations. About a year ago, after much experimenting and note-taking I reached the conclusion that mixing and manipulation has the primary influence on gluten strength. I'm aware I can read that conclusion on TFL in a thousand or more postings, or in any good bread-baking book. Nonetheless, I wanted to understand the nuances. I am  still amazed at how I can feel the dough strengthen, and yet become more elastic and tenacious over the span of three simple stretch-and-folds and two rest periods.

What I now use for all lean (or nearly lean) doughs is:

DDT 54°F--I cold ferment at that temperature. It is logical, to me, that I should start fermentation at that temperature.

I machine mix only the flours, chilled water, and levain (IDY or natural) until I have a shaggy ball. The dough is placed in the refrigerator or wine chiller for 1 hour. I measure dough's temperature to make the choice; usually because of mixing friction it's higher than DDT so it goes in the refrigerator. The ball remains in the mixer bowl. I sprinkle the salt on top the ball of dough before resting it.

After hydrating (autolyse) I machine-knead the dough for two minutes on speed 1 (KitchenAid stand mixer) Then I knead the dough on speed 2, the time duration varies with the dough type and hydration.

Sourdoughs, 68% hydration: mostly white flour (85% to 100%) three minutes, 50% WW seven minutes, and baguettes (67% hydration) four minutes.

Subsequently: I rest the doughs for 1 hour (in the refrigerator or the wine chiller) then perform S&F (usually three) with one hour of rest between, always in the cold environment.

Focaccia, 72% hydration: ??? minutes: not decided yet--this was the exception.

First focaccia: 7 minutes. The dough was still terribly sticky, after one hour rest. I abandoned trying to stretch and fold it, and used the slap-and-fold (Bertinet method?) for about 10 minutes. Subsequently I did two S&F after 1 hour rest each time. This dough was used for pizza dough.

Second focaccia: 10 minutes. Dough was still sticky after one-hour rest; had to use bench scrapper to free from surface, but was able to perform first S&F. Last two S&F dough only slightly sticky. This dough was used for making a dozen sandwich rolls.

Third focaccia (this thread): 17 minutes! Three subsequent S&F's went with out any difficult. Dough, while still very tacky* was easy to manipulate.

In subsequent focaccia bakes, I'll cut back on this time until I find the sweet spot.

 * I define sticky dough vs. tacky dough in this way: Without using flour, oil or water as a lubricant when manipulating the developing dough the dough adheres to your fingers, and small amounts remain on your fingers afterwards. Tacky doughs adhere to your fingers, but leave no residue afterwards.

David G

golgi70's picture
golgi70

David for the info, 

I too have learned from practice and of course the 1000 posts you speak of on TFL that less machine mixing and stretch and folds make for the best gluten structure.  My 90% focaccia though is certainly mixed in a machine.  its about 10 minutes on hi speed and it pulls away from bowl.  But again I'm aiming for a higher DDT as I finish it at room temp relatively fast.  I bet a stretch and fold would do wonders.  Maybe I'll try it.  I'll deffinately try your baguette formula.

I'll let you know how it goes.  Your focaccia looks ready for the books though.

Thanks Again

Josh

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks for the elaborate reply,and the valuable info., David!

-Khalid

 

verve's picture
verve

love your focaccia!! looks excellent :) 

I'm a bit new to all these percentages and how you write your recipes, if you have a spare minute could you write down the recipe/ingredients for the focaccia? 

 

I get that you use 72% water to the 100% weight of flour, but what does the 17% on the preferment mean? I know you do a preferment, but I'm not quite sure how much you mix in this? Is it 17% of the 100% weight of flour? But then how much water and four do you mix with it? 

 

many thanks :) 

 


David

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...I guess I just added a new comment. See "" post below.

David G

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Hi David,

Sorry to confuse you. I haven't yet adopted the Bread Bakers' Guild of America's "approved" way to communicate bread formulae. When I first chose to improve my bread baking skills, and in the process encountered Baker's Math, unaware of the BBGA's august influence, I wrote a spreadsheet that aids my baking, and I've been reluctant to change it just to be in sync with BBGA. Consequently, I make a habit of providing the minimum information regarding personal bread formulae such that any one wanting to replicate it can given the posted information. However, I understand it takes some grey-matter work, and probably is confusing to many readers.

The key is answering a couple of questions, and that in Baker's Math the total flour is the basic reference, i.e. 100%.

Using the information I provided--This 72% hydrated loaf is 100% KA Bread flour (17% prefermented in the levain) 4.2% extra-virgin olive oil, and 2% salt.--one merely has to answer the first question: "How much dough do I want to make?" The minimal information will then suffice.

Example: For ease of calculation lets assume you want to make one kilogram of focaccia dough: 1000g of dough.

Total dough = weight of flour, water, salt and olive oil.

Let X = weight of the flour

1000g = X +.72X + .042X + .02X = X x 1.782

X = 1000/1.782 = 561g (rounded to the nearest integer)

Flour = 561g

Water  = .72 x 561 = 404g

Salt = .02 x 561 = 11g

EVOO = .042 x 561 = 24g

Note: 561g + 404g + 11g + 24g = 1000g = desired dough weight.

Now the second question: How much of the flour should be pre-fermented to make the levain?

That's a question we could debate for hours, and at least half the bakers debating wouldn't agree with the other half. 15% to 40% is reasonable for lean doughs. I chose 17%

And that leads to to the third and final question: At what hydration do you want to build the levain?

I keep my seed starter at 100% hydration. Most breads I make with natural levain I keep the levain at 100% hydration. I make this focaccia with 100% hydrated levain.

Therefore:17% of 561g = 95g, and because the levain is 100% hydrated: Water (for the levain) = 95g

561 - 95 = 466, and 404 - 95 = 309. Consequently, the ripe levain will weigh 190g, and the final dough will be:

Levain: 190g

Flour: 466g

Water: 309g

Salt: 11g

EVOO: 24g

Final dough weight = 190 + 466 + 309 + 11 + 24 = 1000g

However, if you wanted to use a stiff levain, say 60% hydration, then the final dough formulation would be:

Levain: 152g

Flour: 466g

Water: 347g

Salt: 11g

EVOO: 24g

Note: 152 + 466 + 347 + 11 + 24 = 1000.

I hope it's clear, and that you've seen you can make any amount of dough you want to knowing only the ingredient's percentages relative to the flour's weight, and you know how much dough you want, how wet you want it to be, and how you want to build your levain.

Happy baking,

David G

 

verve's picture
verve

Thats excellent David!! thanks so much for the help. I looked into bakers math a little bit but I think I was just thrown off a bit because I like to have it ALL infront of me (lazy new baker, i know!!) in terms of how long to ferment the poolish/preferment, and how long for bulk fermentation etc... 

 

I will experiment with what you've written for me there and maybe make my own excel calculator spreadsheet so i can change the amounts  accordingly and the math will be done automatically :) 

 

 

many thanks! 

 

David

rnquilter's picture
rnquilter

I missed when the evoo was added.  Is is part of the dough or is this used on top.  Thanks

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I thought I'd hit the reply button, but obviously didn't.

David G

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Add EVOO after hydrating (autolyse) the flour. My reasoning is this. Oil will "coat" both the flour granules and, perhaps, the yeast cells too, and, therefore, possibly slowing hydration . So I add the oil after hydration is completed, also the salt. I am aware there is a controversy that adding the sourdough levain or IDY  to the water and flour mixture before hydration is complete is not  a proper thing to do. I do it, it's convenient, and it gives the dough a jump-start on fermentation. Furthermore, since the levain is already 100% hydrated it won't compete with the added flour for water, and 7g of IDY isn't going to "steal" much water from the flour.

Salt, on the other hand, does compete with the flour for water. Furthermore, salt dissociates in water and the sodium and chlorine ions form chemical bonds with water molecules. Hence, salt water has different physical properties than unsalted water. I don't know if the difference is significant re flour hydration, but I don't add it until after hydration is complete. I do, however, sprinkle the salt on top of the hydrating mixture. I do this because, like many other bakers, I once left salt out of my final dough. I picked up the trick from an article in the Baker's Guild new-letter about the USA Baking Team. On the other hand, Mini cautioned me that she had had a bad experience with the salt "clumping" when she tried the trick. So far, I've not had any problems. For bread dough I use a sea salt that is not ground fine, but the flakes are smaller than Morton Kosher salt.

Incorporating oil into the hydrated dough isn't easy. I typically make only I or 2 kilograms of dough for a weekly bake. I incorporate the oil by hand in a bowl folding it in with a bowl scraper. The process also acts like an initial kneading also.

I also brush the top of the proofed loaf with about a Tbs of additional olive oil and sprinkle it lightly with salt. (I'm not sure I mentioned that in the original post). My wife insists I do this, regardless of any other topping we might add.

Thinking about enhanced focaccia, last week I baked a sourdough focaccia with 1/2 cup of diced, sun-dried tomatoes, a third folded into the dough with each S&F. I used BJ's spiced, olive oil preserved sun-dried tomatoes--capers, peppers, garlic and spices in the oil--and topped as decribed above. Arguably, one of the most tasty focaccias I've ever made. I'm going to make it again end of this week, but will substitute garlic-infused olive oil (I simmered a whole head of cracked garlic for 30 minutes in a quart of EVOO).

Life is good!

David G