Many friends of mine seem to be under the impression that I spend my days covered in flours, hands stuck in sticky doughs ready to be shaped into extravagant breads and pizzas. Oh, how I have deceived you with my Instagram posts! The bare truth is that I make a large batch of dough once or twice a week, I let it slow prove in the fridge and only pinch some out when I need to bake starchy goods. I find this method to be very efficient. Basically, I make a mess in the kitchen only sporadically, but I can enjoy the benefits of home-baked goods daily. And so it happened that I had this left over batch of healthy dough fermenting at cold temperature, ready for me to roll, top with sweet onion and enjoy for lunch with a tomato salad and a cold beer. Heaven!
INGREDIENTS , makes 1 large Focaccia
200 gr (1-1/3 cup) of baker’s flour (strong white flour)
200 gr (1-1/3 cup)of spelt flour
100 gr (2/3 cup) of rye flour
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
340 (1-1/3 cup) ml of water
2 teaspoons of salt
(double the quantity of the above ingredients if you wish to make a double batch)
3-4 French shallots, thinly sliced
3-4 tablespoons of extra-vigin olive oil for drizzling on top
1. Mix flour, water and yeast together with a wooden spoon until combined. Add salt and mix well. Your mixture will look and feel quite sticky. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it prove for 10/14 hours at room temperature. The dough will look bubbly, wet and it will have grown in size considerably. At this point, you can use the dough as your focaccia base or you can rest the bowl in the fridge, well covered with plastic film for up to 5 days. The flavour and structure of the dough will improve the longer you slow prove it. The dough used for the focaccia pictured here had been in the fridge for 2 days after the long fermentation at room temperature.
2. Preheat you oven to 220 C (430 F).
3. Line an oven tray lined with baking paper. Tip the dough onto the tray, spread the dough with wet hands to the deisred shape. Using a rolling pin won’t work as the dough is very wet. Be mindful when manipulating the dough not to burst the air bubbles that will have formed during the slow fermentation. Those coveted air pockets hold the secret to a light-as-a-feather crust.
4. Top the base with the sliced shallots, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and salt
5. Rest the focaccia at room temperature for 30 minutes.
6. Bake for 15 minutes then add the rosemary (adding in at the beginning will make it burn in the oven). Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is caramel brown and the bottom is crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Silvia’s new book Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca will be on sale from November 11 2014!