Focaccia - May 13, 2020

Today's focaccia did not turn out as well as what I made a couple weeks ago, described at this post.

Prior to proofing, I shaped the dough into rounds that were probably to wide, diameter-wise, which made the dough thinner and/or over-worked or something.

The final product did not spring up as much. It also did not taste as oily and salty as the previous focaccia.

It's difficult to make successful bread-related products repeatedly. Pizza, naturally-leavened sourdough bread, Moroccan-style bread, and focaccia. That might be too many things to try to do well. I should stick with pizza and my sourdough bread.

Actually, I should focus on one thing: 100 percent whole grain naturally leavened sourdough bread. I can make pizza bread with that bread. For the 100 percent whole grain bread, I can vary the flours. Lately, I have used 50-50 red whole wheat and white whole wheat. I can mix in spelt and rye flours too. The point is to focus on the process and try to make it well over and over, which can be difficult as the weather changes and gets warmer.

With my bread, I can continue to ferment and proof at room temp or place the dough in the refrigerator, during one or both of those processes. I can dig out my big, square cooler and try proofing in my make-shift proofing box where I add a cup of boiling water to the cooler and proof the dough inside the closed cooler where the temp is at least 90 degrees and the humidity is at least 90 percent.

Plenty of variables exist with whole grain, naturally-leavened sourdough bread that uses only three ingredients: flour, water, and salt.

Anyway, today's version of focaccia was still edible, but it lacked the airiness and oily and salty flavor of the previous version.


I started the poolish the day before, and I let the poolish ferment for 15 hours. In this photo, I'm pouring the poolish into the water, used in the main recipe.

This is after I mix the water, olive oil, yeast, and poolish together.

This is the dough after mixing and before setting it up to ferment.

I fermented for two hours. I did not do any stretch and folds. I incorporated the ingredients and worked the wet dough on the counter to get the gluten development started, and then I set it up to ferment.

After fermenting, I dumped the dough on the counter, using no oil nor flour on the counter. I divided the dough, and I weighed the pieces to make them even. And then I used the opportunity to practice shaping and rounding the dough by using the dough scraper. This is not required per Zingerman's instructions. I wanted to practice this for my bread making. I shaped the dough and let the dough rest for 10 minutes or so.

Then I shaped the dough balls into disks, but I think that I made the disks too thin and wide. I should have made smaller disks. I placed each disk on a baking sheet, and I covered each with plastic. I let them proof for one hour.

The final product was too wide and too thin for airy focaccia. I need to shape smaller.

Next time, instead of dividing the fermented dough into two pieces, I might try the following.

Normally, I bake on a baking stone that has been warmed in the pre-heated oven, but years ago, per Jim Lahey's instructions, I have baked pizza on baking sheets or trays.