The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Carol Bergeron's picture

Convert dry yeast recipe to one of the starters

November 11, 2012 - 8:26am -- Carol Bergeron

I have a recipe for an herbed focaccia that I have been making for several years that calls for dry yeast.  I have purchased several starters which are all doing well and I would like to convert the original recipe from dry yeast to one of my starters.  Does any one have a method for doing this?

Here is the recipe that I would like to convert:

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 1/2 cups milk

6 Tbsp olive oil

5 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

fresh herbs and coarse salt

frenchcreek baker's picture


October 25, 2012 - 4:23pm -- frenchcreek baker

Hello bakers,

The HAINS HOUSE is offering 3-day Artisan Bread Baking Workshops. 

If you are looking for a bread get-away or maybe a nice baking gift for someone, this workshop at a farm B&B could be perfect.

Classes will be offered NOVEMBER 2-4th, 2012; JANUARY 25-27th, 2013, and FEBRUARY 22-24TH, 2013.

Pat has an Italian wood-fired Valoriani Oven in a beautiful, tranquil setting. The course includes lodging and all meals.

davidg618's picture

My wife loves focaccia. One of her favorite snacks is a naked piece of focaccia topped only with its pre-bake sprinkling of coarse sea salt.  We've been making focaccia for about a decade, using a bread machine recipe, and our Zo on dough cycle. Once fermented, I'd stretch the dough onto a half-sheet pan, and bake it in the oven. Here's a link to a focaccia bake I posted in the first month after I'd joined TFL.

Shortly, following I became obsessed with sourdough, baguettes and, to a lesser degree, challah. That trinity has kept me busy for the past three years, and although we didn't abandon our bread machine dough making, we only use it routinely for tried-and-true sandwich bread dough, and on occasion the reliable, but uninspiring focaccia which we also like for sandwich making.

Now, reasonably certain I can produce a satisfactory loaf of any of the trinity, my curiosity has turned to reexploring other bread styles.  My thoughts had settled on either ciabatta, or focaccia when my wife settled the matter, asking for focaccia. When questioned, she allowed she wanted it mostly for sandwiches. At that momemt I decided I'd bake focaccia buns, in lieu of the usual single flat rectangle.

I first considered making the well-known, and safe, bread machine recipe and incorporating an overnight retarded bulk fermentation, striving for additional flavor. However, searching further I found Maggie Glezer's formula for Acme Bakery Herb Slabs: a styleized focaccia in her Artisan Baking book. She had adapted Acme's four-hour poolish to an overnight twelve-hour poolish, finishing with a making the dough and subjecting it to an approximately six-hour bulk fermentation, with early S&Fs, at room temperature.

I've become an advocate for overnight retarding at low temperature (54°F) so I planned an eight-hour poolish, followed by mixing the dough (DDT 54°F) and invoking a fifteen-hour retarded bulk fermentation, with early S&F.  I followed Ms. Glezer's ingredient ratios to the letter, with two very small variations: 1.) I used Instant Dry Yeast, mixed directly into the poolish flour (1/8th tsp) and the final dough flour ( 1/4 tsp), and 2.) I made the poolish hydration exactly 100%. Ms. Glezer specifies a main water ingredient amount that yields a hydration of 98%, and some manipulation of the yeast in  1 cup of water--only a quarter of a cup of the yeasted water is used--resulting in 1/16th tsp of yeast, and additional grams of water, which leads to 118% poolish hydration. This percentage is annotated parenthetically after the main water ingredient as "(eventually 118%)". Frankly, I didn't understand all this unusual baker's math at the time I was mixing the poolish. Using the K.I.S.S. principle I simply made it 100%. Only, now writing this blog, did I piece together her instructions. Oops! 3.) I also left out the herbs--intentionally.

When I retrieved the dough in the morning, after 15 hour bulk fermentation, it had tripled in volume. I turned it out, degassed it, and pre-measured 4, 180g; 2, 120g; and 1, 270g dough pieces. These corresponded to 4 large oval baking dishes, 2 small oval custard dishes, and 1, 8"x 8", square baking pan. I preshaped the dough into balls, and let them warm in the proofing box (82°F) for 1 hour. After panning I brushed the tops with a generous coating of olive oil. After proofing I poked finger-holes in the top and sprinkled two large ones, the two small ones and the square with coarse sea salt, the remaining two large ones with black pepper and grated parmesan.  I baked them at 425°F for twenty-two minutes (Convection mode). I didn't use steam, thinking the loaves, coated with olive oil wouldn't benefit. I've also found salt begins to dissociate in steam.

This dough was wonderful to work with (although slightly sticky), however, my not understanding the directions resulted in a dough that was 62% hydrated. Had I followed directions correctly the the dough's hydration would have been 75%, and I would have had a crumb very different than what I got (and a much sticker dough). Nevertheless, not all mistakes lead to bad results. This crumb is more than acceptable, for us, in a sandwich bun, and the flavor is excellent.

I'll make these again. I will likely increase the dough hydration, but probably only to 68%, the same hydration I now typically use for baguettes. This dough, with the exception of 6% olive oil, is essentially the same as the baguette dough I make in both ingredients and handling. I achieve a very open crumb in baguettes, not a crumb I especially like in a sandwich bun. Subsequently, I'll raise or lower the hydration as it fits our tastes. I also will experiment with using the baking dishes and custard dishes as bannetons, and bake the unpanned loafs on the baking stone. I had to use two racks for this bake, which gave me a two differing browning depths and patterns.

David G

Moots's picture

Prosciutto on focaccia-safe? Help, please.

June 3, 2012 - 6:42pm -- Moots

I have 2 pans of PR's focaccia with a prosciutto and sundried tomato topping in the oven, right now. While the two of us are hungry and impatiently waiting; I know there will be a ton of focaccia left over. I'd love to take some in to work to share, but I don't want to kill anyone. Do I have to refrigerate the focaccia overnight or is it safe to leave bread made with cured meat out?

Thanks for any help!


AprilSky's picture

It's been really few years I didn't show up here. Busy but never stopped baking. Focaccia is one of the breads I've baked almost every 2~3 days in the last 3 weeks. It's simple and goes well with about every thing I put on my dinning table and, most of all,  my family and my friends love  it. The dough I use for focaccia is pretty much similar to regular pizza dough. I actually us it for pizza as well.

Bread flour.........600g
Instant yeast.......1-1/2 tea spoons
Sugar...................2 tea spoons
Salt......................2 tea spoons
Olive oil..............2 table spoons
Water..................380 cc
Note: I shap the fermented dough to fit a 30x40 cm baking sheet and let it double. Before baking, I slight sprinkle sea salt then make pockmarks then spray rosemary and olive oil and sliced garlic evenly over the dough . Baking temperature is 200 degree C for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  

This is how I repare my focaccia before baking.

Our house was filled up with pleasant aroma during baking. That really brought up good mood.


Farlic is soft and tender.


Crispy crust plus spongy crumb.


My boy loves the bread a lot.


40 seconds in microwave helps olive oil extract fragrance from rosemary.


Beef soup we had with focaccia for dinner. Beef shank cooked with large volume of chopped celery, onion, carrot and one tomato stewed, and seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, and a cup of red wine. It made good soup itself.

frankie g's picture

Just posted a new focaccia video to our site if anyone is interested.

October 12, 2011 - 3:43pm -- frankie g

Hey everyone,

I just posted a new focaccia video on our website if your interested.

I hope you enjoy


Frankie G - FGpizza

loydb's picture

After seeing, I knew I had to try it, and grapes were on sale at the grocery store. It's cooling now, dinner soon!



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