Oh Yes!

Bill44's picture
Bill44

Well a few of you have seen my previous attempts at a Focaccia, including the Flopaccia. Well in the past I have been chasing the high hydration type of focaccia and the best I have ever ended up with was a flatish piece of bread, it may have looked like focaccia but it tasted just like a piece of bread.

No More! I have cracked the code, finagled the focaccia etc etc. Focaccia to me has always been soft crusted, soft crumbed, almost a cross between a bread and a cake, well I've got it! Believe it or not, the inspiration came to me the other night when I was making a pizza dough at 60% hydration. When you have a look at the recipe you are going to get a shock, taking the starter, flour, and water into account, it is a 50.5% hydration dough.

I will post the recipe in the relevant section.

[img]http://sourdough.com.au/gallery/d/4587-1/new_Focaccia+001+copy.jpg[/img]

[img]http://sourdough.com.au/gallery/d/4589-1/new_Focaccia+003.jpg[/img]

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Replies

nina 2006 August 23

Wow, that looks delicious! My daughter (3 y-o) is sitting beside me going: Mummy, I'd like that cake, will you bake that cake for me?
Thanks for posting the recipe
By the way, I just got the lame in the mail, once I'm done with my chemistry exam I'll even have time to do some baking. Promise to take pics

Croc 2006 August 23

my fav topping for Focaccia (since kids are reading i better spell this one right ) is olive oil/crashed garlic could add some oregano as well but garlic is a must for me

donyeokl's picture
donyeokl 2006 August 24

[quote]
When you have a look at the recipe you are going to get a shock, taking the starter, flour, and water into account, it is a 50.5% hydration dough.
[/quote]
Bill,
To think that you once called me a "Sadist" kneading dough at such low hydration...

SourDom 2006 August 24

'Hydration' percentages are skewed a bit by the effect of a high proportion of starter.

In your recipe Bill you use 86% starter, which is at least twice the proportion of starter that most of us routinely use.
The effect of the large amount of starter is to increase the effective hydration of the dough. Why is this? Have a look at the difference between your 100% starter when you first mix it (the consistency of thick sticky mud) and its consistency 24 hours later (often much more like a thick batter. It is still the same proportion of flour to water, but the action of the yeasties and the acid environment on the flour proteins makes it all a whole lot moister by the time it is mixed in with the rest of the ingredients.

I have been playing around with a Ciabatta recipe that is 70% hydration on the pure numbers but uses 100% starter to flour ratio, and is much moister to handle than standard doughs at the same hydration.

cheers
Dom

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 24

Yes I will admit to the shock value of the figures (bait for Dom )as opposed to the reality of the dough, and have a look at the oil amount, 1/4 cup. The amount of oil is the reason you won't nead any flour to knead this dough which is quite a bit softer than you might at first think.

One little trick, in the recipe I stated fully active starter, I used mine about 4 1/2 hours after refreshing.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 24

[quote="matthew"]
Nice looking bread Bill. Bet it didn't last long before it all dissapeared!
[/quote]
Half made it to the freezer, the rest went with dinner last night. (only two mouths in the house)

bianchifan's picture
bianchifan 2006 August 25

Nice bread. Perhaps a little bit to cross on top and crumb could be a little bit more fluffy.
In Germany we are making "Laugenbrezel" out of those dough
even some people prefer a hydration of 45% .

Hey, there is a way of making focaccia from a more liquid dough, hydration of 65 % is quite possible, even 70% at slow mixing, resting for a while and very, very slow kneading, best at all with hands.

But, nice braed, looks fine.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 25

[quote="bianchifan"]
Nice bread. Perhaps a little bit to cross on top and crumb could be a little bit more fluffy.
[/quote]
Don't understand this part "Perhaps a little bit to cross on top". As far as the crumb is concerned, if you tasted it you would agree that any "fluffier" and it would drift away like smoke.

bianchifan's picture
bianchifan 2006 August 25

First of all, it's really a nice bread.
But excuse me, for me its too cross. If the crumbs drifts away, ok, try to capture..
Baking my next Pizza, I think, I will try a focacia too, perhaps with olives, I don't know..

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 26

[quote="bianchifan"]
for me its too cross.
[/quote]
We appear to be having a translation problem here, what are you trying to say?

bianchifan's picture
bianchifan 2006 August 26

Oh, pardon,
I mean something like too much crusty, in Germany wy say "kross", I've seen "cross" often and though it's the same..not "sign of a cross"..

wanna say: for me the crust seems to be a little bit too strong, too brown

Feel free to look at my gallary, I've upped some pizza photographs, there you can see what I mean with "cross"

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 26

Aha! too crusty. Well this is another suprising thing about this focaccia, as well as the crumb being light and "fluffy", the top is not crusty at all. It has no crunch whatsoever, and no chewiness either, it is just a thin surface that is hardly noticable when you bite. The surface colouring is from the oil, which was actually boiling on top as it cooked. Another point on the texture of the crumb, don't fall for the myth that to have a soft texture you have to have big holes.

I'll be the first to admit that this bread at first glance seems to defy all logic, and can only attribute its characteristics to the high proportion of oil which has had the effect of shortening the dough.

I just wish you could all taste it and you would understand what I mean.

carla's picture
carla 2006 August 26

Bill this "shortening of the dough" is a mystery to me.

What does it actually mean? Could you be my english/english-dictionary in this please?

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 27

This is the straight definition, "Shortening, in its most generic meaning, is any fat or oil that is used to make a short crust or dough (one that has a high ratio of fat to flour, and turns out tender, crumbly, and rich)."

The oil in the dough is doing the same function as the high level of butter in a crumbly pie crust, as it says above it is making the crumb soft and light but not to the crumbly stage.

carla's picture
carla 2006 August 27

Thank you Bill.
Here I was thinking of the "shortening" of the gluten strands by something mysterious to make the bread soft and fluffy...

bianchifan's picture
bianchifan 2006 August 27

[quote="Bill44"]
it is just a thin surface that is hardly noticable when you bite...don't fall for the myth that to have a soft texture you have to have big holes.
[/quote]
I know exactly what you mean.
Here there are some bakery products with your described attributes, for example Mürbchen, Stütchen, "Weckmann"..esp. the last has absolutely no big holes, they are all made from some oily or buttery dough.

So I'll correct myself, your focaccia isn't too "cross", it's only too brown.
If I receive a focaccia in a very good italian restaurant, its crust is very well defined, its slightly splittery but even chewish and glossy (from excellent oil).
It's crumb is hardly perceptible, it feels like ... a breeze...

Good focaccia isn't easy to bake, though there are many italians who bake it fast like "pizza rolls".
Don't worry, I just want to spur you on making a "perfect" focaccia..

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