The Fresh Loaf

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HELP please, focaccia problems

mcs's picture
mcs

HELP please, focaccia problems

Since I know you all are going to ask for as much info as possible, I'll get going on it.  The problem is my round focaccias came out like pitas (thin tops, full bottoms).  I used this same recipe for focaccia last week, baked them in round pans and everything came out OK.  I got larger pans, increased the dough size appropriately, formed and baked them yesterday and they turned out OK.  Now these are going to be used for sandwiches so today I used a rolling pin to make them even and degassed/consistent and today I ended up with a bunch of pitas.  Now here's the stumper (at least for me).  One of them was formed identically to the others but was put in a smaller pan (rolled to 10" diameter, put in a 9" pan), and that one turned out as a perfect focaccia just like the ones last week. 
So, I didn't end up with the pita problem when I patted them into circles (didn't use the rolling pin), so I figure that's part of it.  I can't explain why the small one came out OK if that's the issue.

Lots of recipes (Hamelman) allow the usage of a rolling pin, some say never use one.  How do I fix this issue?  Is that the main problem?  Did I mention I'm making more tomorrow AM?

I've got some dough right now ready to experiment so any suggestions can be tested out soon.  Oh, and I'm assuming it's a 'me' issue rather than a recipe issue, which is why I haven't included the recipe.

Thanks everyone, work your magic.

-Mark

janij's picture
janij

I am wondering if the rolling pin has something to do with it.  I don't know why I think that but I am wondering if it gets too uniform that you get the ballon effect- like pita and tortillas- instead of what you are looking for.  I am wondering if when you put the rolled larger on into the smaller pan if that cancelled the effect.  Did you bunch it up to make it fit?  I may have no clue what I am talking about but I am wondering if that might be part of the problem.  Also did you proof as usual after rolling them out? 

mcs's picture
mcs

Jannij,
Yes to everything you asked and said up there.  I just made a batch of 5 without using the rolling pin and they came out great.  I think you're right about the 'cancelled effect' in the smaller pan.  I'm not sure, but seeing as they all worked w/o the rolling pin (just patting it out to a circle) I'm just going to stick with that.  They take about the same time anyway.    Thanks for the input.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Mark,

When you use the rolling pin, are you still dimpling the dough with your fingers before baking?  That seems to be a staple of most foccacia techniques, though not all, and I wonder if might have an effect simliar to docking? 

Just another random thought to go along with Jannij's suggestion.

Paul

mcs's picture
mcs

I hadn't dimpled them when I had flattened /spread them without the rolling pin, so I didn't think it was really necessary.  However, when I saw the ballooning happening after I had used the rolling pin, I was wondering about the dimpling also.  I'm not sure, but the last batch I made (2 hours ago), I dimpled and if I saw more pitas I was going to dock next time also. Fortunately I think it's all good.  Thanks for the thoughts.
New rolling technique, new pans - too many new factors/variables at once.
Nothing wakes me up like having to personally deliver sub-par baked goods to a restaurant owner.  Ouch.

-Mark

http://thebackhomebakery.com

janij's picture
janij

:)