Sunday, 15 December 2013

Working on a focaccia recipe - part II

I have now baked and partially eaten the second half of the focaccia dough that I wrote about yesterday.  This half has been retarded in the refrigerator overnight.  I removed the dough 3 hours before baking to let it warm up.  I was not happy with how I baked the previous batch, so this time I decided that I would use a much hotter oven.  I preheated the fan oven to 270 °C with a baking tray on the bottom shelf, put the focaccia dough on the top shelf and a cup of hot water in the baking tray for a burst of steam.

I am much happier with the results this time.  The extra slow fermentation and over night retarding seem to have developed the texture and flavor and the hotter bake has produced a lovely crust this time.  The crust gives the bread a much better smell, crunch and a nuttier flavor.

Ideas for next time - I think less salt and the use of some mineralised water will improve my focaccia.  I also think the herbs I chose are not the best filling for this bread.  I may try making a plain dough so that I can be more critical of the dough's flavor.  I also need to get a deeper pan so that I can put considerably more olive oil on the top before baking.  A few more goes and I may write this up as a proper recipe.