Well, hello. It’s been a while. One year to be exact. I started out trying to explain my absence–a broken foot the day after my last post here, a succulent addiction that has taken me out of the kitchen and into the garden, a bit of traveling, a shortage of inspiration, too, if I may be honest–but excuses are not the way to greet a new year. I’m looking forward to sharing new recipes, travel and more this coming year.
I will admit to being a little nervous, though, when I logged into this site a few days ago (for the first time in a year). I was bracing myself for hundreds of spam messages that would need deleting. And while the spam showed up as expected I was pleasantly surprised to hear from you, too. What a treat it was to see positive feedback from you about some L&A recipes that have become your holiday favorites. Some of you even trusted me enough to select recipes to serve to family and friends before testing them yourselves. Thank you for the vote of confidence!
So even though I find myself rusty at operating my camera and at trying to catch good light for these pictures; even though this space could use a good bit of dusting, cleaning up and refreshing; even though I’m finding it a little challenging to put words together that flow, I’ll find my groove. It’s like riding a bike, right? So I’ll just dive right in.
My love affair with homemade bread continues. Ida, the sourdough starter I started three years ago, is alive and well. It’s been so fun learning about sourdough baking because of her. I’m still far from being an expert but I can now bake a loaf of bread with reasonable confidence. In fact, one of these days I’ll share with you how to make your own Ida from scratch and also my current favorite loaf.
Today, here is something very simple even if the instructions look involved. If you maintain your own starter and bake sourdough bread already this focaccia just calls for preparing a bit more dough than called for in your bread recipe. This is what I’ve done here using my favorite recipe from Ken Forkish’s Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast as a guide. Unlike the classic thick focaccia, this version resembles more a pizza crust as it is thin all around with crispy edges. Thin focaccia does exist but my understanding is that they are not usually leavened with yeast and are much thinner than this.
This is a happy compromise between the two and how we enjoy focaccia at home. I’ve modified the original Forkish recipe for Overnight Country Brown bread by incorporating some spelt flour and by letting the final dough sit for several hours before adding the sourdough starter, resulting in a much more flavorful bread. This technique yields the same tasty results for this focaccia.
When I share my bread recipe with you this will make more sense but for now trust me when I say this is one of the easiest, most flexible bread recipes you can add to your baking repertoire and your friends will love you for it.
Happy New Year!
- For the Focaccia:
- 40 grams fed sourdough starter (at peak rise)
- 153 grams flour (45g spelt, 108g white a/p flour)
- 107 grams water (filtered, 90-95ºF)
- 2 grams kosher salt
- Olive oil, a few tablespoons
- Topping (feel free to top with whatever you wish):
- Sliced tomatoes
- Fresh Sage
- This is an overnight recipe and because of the small portion it would be best to prepare with your favorite sourdough bread. Or, multiply the recipe to make several focaccia for a gathering.
- Day 1: Feed your starter in the morning. I started with 10 grams of my rye starter and fed with 13g water, 8g spelt flour and 9g white flour. This will take from 4-6 hours to reach its peak.
- At the same time you feed your starter, combine the 153 grams of flour and 107 grams of water for the final dough in a bowl. Stir together, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit until the starter reaches peak.
- Once the starter has reached its peak, four to six hours, add the starter to the flour and water mixture and also the two grams of kosher salt. Use the Ken Forkish pincher method to incorporate the starter and salt into the dough.
- Again using the Ken Forkish method, stretch and fold the dough two or three times before allowing to rest overnight.
- In the morning, shape the dough into a ball and return to the bowl. Brush the top with olive oil and refrigerate for around until ready to bake.
- About two hours before baking, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature (about two hours).
- Preheat your oven to 500ºF. Using a 9-inch cast iron skillet or a quarter sheet pan, coat the baking vessel with a little olive oil, about one or two tablespoons.
- Transfer the dough onto the skillet or pan then flatten and spread the dough, creating dimples on the surface with your fingers. If the dough springs back, let it rest for about ten minutes before spreading again. Coat the dough with a little more olive oil and top with your favorite toppings.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking for doneness around the eight minute mark since this is a thin focaccia. Cut and serve.
2. The flour mix you use for your sourdough starter and for your final dough is up to you. I like to incorporate whole grain whenever I can. It won't affect the final recipe.