I absolutely adore focaccia. There is something inherently beautiful about this rustic flatbread. Technically you must bake this in an oven, but even if you do not have an oven,you can make the bread in an electric tandoor.
All you need is a flat surface and high heat. Or use a heavy bottomed sauce pan with a lid and bake your focaccia over the gas. So if you do not have an oven, it’s perfectly alright .You can still make a focaccia at home.
This focaccia is a sourdough focaccia. Now if you are a sourdough newbie ,this would be the best thing for you to do,because there is no shaping, there is no worry about hydration, there is no requirement for a Dutch oven. No complication whatsoever. It’s Simple. Mix ,ferment ,pat flat, put some toppings and bake.
If you do not have a sourdough starter, please don’t lose heart. You can still make the most beautiful focaccia ever. Even if yeast is not your best friend, it’s perfectly alright . Like I said, a focaccia is the simplest bread to make.
I will note down the sourdough recipe and also give an option to bake the focaccia using instant dry yeast or the yeast available at normal grocery stores.
The most important thing in a focaccia is the amount of oil you add to the bread. You should of course use olive oil for an authentic taste but even if you don’t have olive oil it’s perfectly alright to use your regular refined oil. Just make sure you use good toppings if you do not have olive oil.
The desi jalapenos that I have used, are the bhavnagri green chillies.
Not very spicy, but tasty.You can of course use Jalapenos in Brine or fresh green chillies like I did. I like to use caramelized onions. You can’t place raw onions and garlic on the bread. They will not Cook out and caramelize to a beautiful brown colour. You cannot use fried onions on your focaccia because the onions will burn . So you will need to just cook out the rawness from the onions and garlic.
Rosemary and thyme are my favourite herbs.whichever one I get, I use. Also ,I just found out that if you have an excess of these herbs you can wash and dry them and store them in a bottle of oil.The herb oil can be used over focaccia and even over paranthas.
I’m ,SO, doing that right now.
Don’t use cheese. Olives, basil leaves, capers,bell peppers whichever vegetable you wish to use. I often use vegetable oil like saffola and butter because I forgot to buy olive oil. Then as compensation to authenticity ,I add olives.
2 onions sliced
4-8 cloves garlic chopped
2-4 bhavnagri green chillies cut into 1 cm pieces
2 -3 sprigs rosemary or thyme
6 or more tbsp olive oil and or butter
1 tsp Sea salt flakes or pink salt
For the Sourdough Focaccia ( 2 focaccia)
125 gms happy starter(active starter, fed about 5-6 hours ago)
250 gms Whole wheat atta- I used ashirwad
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
180-200 mils water
Place the starter and flour in a bowl. Add the salt and knead together. Add half the olive oil and knead for a few minutes.
Pour the olive oil in another bowl. Place the dough in it and cover loosely and set aside. Mumbai is extremely hot and humid at the moment, so I placed the dough in the fridge to ferment overnight.After approximately 12 hours I brought the dough out of the fridge.
I always use parchment paper on my two baking trays. Spread half teaspoon of olive oil on each tray.
Gently remove the dough from the bowl and cut into 2 equal parts.
Lightly shape the cut dough in 2 balls again and place each ball on each tray.
Using oiled hands, flatten out the dough ball into a long oblong about half inch thick.
Cover this focaccia with parchment paper and set aside for half an hour to 45 minutes till you can see a definite rise in the dough. Now lightly Saute the onions and the garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil or regular vegetable oil and add a little salt. Turn off the heat once the onions become slightly transparent and cool. Divide over the two focaccia. Stud the focaccia with Jalapeno and Rosemary or the toppings of your choice.
Preheat the oven to 200 degree centigrade and place an old cake tin on the last rack of the oven.
Slide the two focaccia trays into the oven and place 6 to 8 ice cubes in the Hot cake tin.Close the oven door quickly and allow the steam to work its magic.Open after 25 minutes and rotate the trays and turn on the top rods of the oven to get that caramelization on your bread.
Allow the bread to get a light brown colour. If you knock on the tray from the bottom you will hear a hollow sound. YOu know the focaccia is done. By now the water from the ice cubes would have all evaporated. Remove the focaccia from the oven and pour over 2 tablespoons each of olive oil. Allow the bread to cool a little , Slice, cut and enjoy.
2 ½ cups or 350 grams whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
220-240 mils 0r 1 cup water
If you’re using active yeast use 2 ½ tsp. Place the yeast in a bowl with some warm water and sugar. Mix well to dissolve. Set aside for a few minutes till it froths and then only use it.
In a bowl place the atta,sugar, salt and Sprinkle over the instant dry yeast. Knead the dough with the warm water to get a soft dough.You must knead for at least 7 to 8 minutes.Now add most of the oil and knead the oil into the dough .Use the remaining oil to coat the dough and place in covered bowl for 40-45 minutes . In the summers,the dough would have risen and doubled in size. Wait a while longer ,or allow your bread to rise in a warm place in the winters. Knead likely again and cut into 2 equal parts.
Spread half tablespoon oil on each baking tray and spread the focaccia to a little less than half inch thick and set aside for half an hour. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade . Else heat your electric tandoor to high .
Spread 1 tablespoon olive oil on each focaccia and cover with the fried onions and garlic ,Rosemary and green chilli.Add or reduce toppings according to your choice .Sprinkle some Pink salt or sea salt flakes over your focaccia.
Place the focaccia in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Once the bread is done, turn on the top rods and allow the surface to caramelize. Remove the Breads once they are brown.Bring them out and brush them or spread over the remaining olive oil. Allow to cool and then slice or cut and enjoy
In a covered sauce pan, make the focaccia like you make pizza. You can flip it over once.
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Until next time