Makes enough Biga for about 14 recipes of Focaccia,
¾ teaspoon of active dry yeast
½ cup of warm water
3 ½ cups of unbleached bread flour
1 ¼ cups of cold water
Focaccia (using food processor):
½ cup of warm water
½ teaspoon of active dry yeast
2 ½ cups of unbleached bread flour
½ tsp of salt
½ cup of cold water
1 tbs of olive oil
¼ cup of Biga
2 tsp of corn meal for dusting pizza stone
Olive Oil and Herbs
1 garlic bulb
1 bunch of Italian Parsley
About a fist full of fresh Rosemary
A spring or two of Oregano
½ of a medium white onion
4 cups of olive oil
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 - 4 cup Mason jar
Making the Biga:
Pour the warm water in a small bowl and add the yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved and foamy, usually about 10 – 15 mins.
Add the flour, yeast mixture and cold water in a large bowl. Mix until it’s sticky and hard to stir. Keeps for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
To use, dip a measuring cup in cold water, dip the amount you need and let it come up to room temp before adding to the bread dough.
Making the Focaccia:
Pour ½ of warm water into a small bowl and add the yeast. Stir and allow to sit for about 10 mins.
Use the steel blade in food processor. Combine flour and salt in the food processor. Add the olive oil, cold water and yeast mixture. Mix the food processor until the dough forms a ball.
Rub the inside of a clean bowl with olive oil and turn the dough ball until coated with oil. Cover and let the dough rise at room temp until doubled in size. This usually takes about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Punch the dough down by folding the corners into the center and then the turn the dough ball over. Let the dough rise a second time for about 45 mins.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a circle about 8” in diameter. Cover and let it rise again.
Before the last rise, Dot the bread. Using a fork or your fingers poke holes through the dough and the coat the dough with the olive oil and herb infusion using your fingers or a pastry brush.
Adjust the BGE to about 425 plus or minus 25 degrees. Cooler is better than hotter. You can use pizza stone or plate setter for the bread.
If this is your first time:
The bread does not take a large fire to bake and BGE is much easier to control you use a small fire and allow time for the BGE temp to stabilize. I wait until there is no smoke from the lump before adjusting the temperature and baking the bread.
I usually cut the dough into 4 quarters to bake or you can leave it whole if you have a pizza peel.
Using the corn meal, dust the stone or plate setter. The corn meal keeps the dough from sticking.
Place the dough on the stone. Close the dome.
Check the bread after about ten mins. The bread is done when the bottom turns brown and the bread rises to two to three times the thickness of the dough. The baking time is a SWAG, each time it’s a bit different.
If the bottom of the bread burns before it bakes all of the way through, your fire is too hot. Lower the temp by 25- 50 degrees and try it again.
• SWAG Sophisticated Wild Assed Guess. I use this method a lot when cooking and baking on the BGE.
Olive Oil and Herbs for coating bread and dipping
Peel and slice garlic cloves
Chop the onion into small pieces
Wash and chop parsley into small pieces
Wash and strip the rosemary leaves from the stems
Wash and strip Oregano from stems
Add a ½ cup of the olive oil to a small sauce pan and sauté onions and garlic until they are transparent. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Pour the onions and garlic and the olive oil into a 4 quart mason jar. Add the parsley and rosemary and oregano. Add the remaining olive oil to fill the jar. Add salt and red pepper to taste.
I don’t bother to refrigerate this mixture, keeps at room temp and tastes better the longer the herbs infuse the oil. To use, just ladle a spoon full or whatever you need from the jar. Great on roast chicken and pork too!
Focaccia dough’s are similar in style and texture to pizza dough. It consists of high-gluten flour, oil, water, salt and yeast. This recipe uses no butter, eggs or milk.
This bread takes some prep time, start a day or two before you want to bake the bread. This recipe uses Biga which is a type of pre-ferment. Using a biga adds complexity to the bread's flavor. I dot the bread. Dotting is poking holes in the dough. This creates multiple wells in the unbaked dough. As a way to preserve moisture in the bread, olive oil is then spread over the dough, by hand or with a pastry brush prior to rising and baking.
I use a food processor for this recipe, you are welcome to mix, knead, slice and chop by hand.
Number of Servings: 1 loaf
Time to Prepare: 2 days