The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread With Big Holes

David Brown's picture
David Brown

Bread With Big Holes

My wife and I recently aquirred an interest in baking Foccacia. We have made some screamin' loaves but when we compare them to a certain loaf we purchase at Trader Joe's.... we are lacking. Trader Joe's loaf is filled with large holes. That is a characteristic we love but we are not able to reproduce the holes. The recipe we use for the dough is 3 cups of bread flour, combo of .75 cup water and .25 cup of white wine at 120 degrees poured over 2.25 teaspoons of active dry yeast, to the liquid we T of olive T of honey....and a teaspoon of Kosher salt. We let it rise once, punch it down, then let it rise again, then shape it into foccacia loaf and bake at 450 for 13 minutes.

Does anyone out there know what we are doing wrong? We only produce bread with tiny holes. It tastes awesome, but we want to know the difference. How do we make big holes?



cranbo's picture

Add more water than your recipe calls for. By my estimates, your dough hydration could be as low as 47%, which is much too low for big holes. You need to move to 60%+ hydration range for big holes. 

Try using 1c of water instead. Your foccacia dough will be significantly stickier to mix and handle, but don't let that bother you. Use wet (or oiled) hands to stretch and shape it. 

More water = big holes. 

SylviaH's picture

a ciabatta dough for your focaccia, because your using a high hydration dough, you get lots of open crumb...Ciril Hitz does this and it makes a lovely bubbly focaccia.


joshuacronemeyer's picture

Here is a hydration calculator I use for adjusting recipes.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

The 120F temperature for your water and wine combination is close to, if not actually above, the yeast killing temp for ADY. Try lowering that temperature of the water down to somewhere between 100-110F and proof the yeast seperate from the other ingredients. I proof my ADY in water between 85-95F and that works for me everytime. That's with ADY that has been kept in the freezer since I bought it at CostCo in August 2009.

Many focaccia recipes use a pre-ferment known as a biga. Pre-ferments can help your bread's flavor a great deal. There are lots of threads available when you use the search function at the top of the page and type in pre-ferment. If you haven't used a pre-ferment before, then the time used researching will be spent.