Inspired by the season and the wonderful weather recently, I tried my hand at 'painting' some veggies on top of my 100% whole wheat focaccia.
With so many quarantined at home, there's been a bread baking trend taking over with so many different kinds of breads and different techniques. Focaccia is one of the easiest breads to make, especially in a small Hong Kong kitchen, where many don't have ovens. I made this simple one by just spreading the dough on the tray that came with my combo microwave/oven, and then using the forced air function.
Types of Focaccia
Focaccia is a very flexible, easy-going flatbread. Somewhat similar to pizza, different toppings are used. One of the most classic types of focaccia is made with flour, olive oil, sea salt and topped with rosemary.
Although rosemary on your focaccia is most traditional, I like staying flexible in the kitchen and will often substitute like-items. Basil, sage and garlic could be substituted. Or, as I've done here, turn to vegetables for your topping and focus more on trying to be an artist with the color of vegetable you choose!
The Flour Choice
Traditionally, focaccia would be made with a strong high-gluten flour, but these days the choice can be whatever you like. I did choose a flour that is high in gluten; an organic stoneground strong wholemeal (whole wheat in American-speak) bread flour. I chose the wholemeal flour because it's higher in protein than a white flour and is high in fiber.
Each choice we make, can often be a trade off of other things....I believe it's most important to consciously choose what we are eating and consuming, and realize that not everything is a fast black or white decision. Making a conscious choice is the best choice we can make.
Stone ground whole wheat/wholemeal flour contains the original bran (which is the fiber) and germ (the nutrient-packed part of the flour) which are removed in white flours. My aim is to try this recipe with other flours as well, and experiment with the tradeoffs between taste/protein/gluten/fiber. Stay tuned!
Dimpling Your Dough
Focaccia is traditionally 'dimpled'. After you stretch it and press it down on your baking sheet into the shape you like, you should 'dimple' the dough every couple of inches, pressing it with your fingertips, so that the olive oil you brush on has a place to pool.
How I made it (read all the way through before starting):
415 g whole wheat flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fast action bread yeast
*I prefer this in place of active dry yeast, because it is very stable and I've been burned several times when buying active dry yeast at the grocery, only to bring it home to find out that it wasn't very 'active' anymore.
Add & stir:
420 ml room temperature water until a sticky dough forms
Pour 2 tbspn EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) in a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turn to coat & cover the bowl tightly.
Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours or up to 2 days to rest.
When ready to bake, place baking paper on a pan (9x13 is a good size), and spread the dough out. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size....in warm weather this may be 30 minutes or in cooler weather it could be 2 hours.
Using the palms of your hands, pat the dough down to 1" and then use your fingertips to lightly dimple the dough. Add your "flower" veggies, keeping the cuts somewhat thicker so they don't burn. Brush lightly with EVOO.
Preheat oven to 450F/230 C and bake 20-30 minutes, turning around halfway through.