Ligurian Focaccia with Kimberly & Aimee
Focaccia Ligure is for my region what sushi is for Japan. Snack, to-go lunch, sharing bites at the brewery, restaurant side dish. It can be very simple or topped with Mediterranean roasted vegetables. In any case it is a staple of our food tradition. No day spent on the beach can be without focaccia. Personally my favourite memory is eating it on the shore sitting in the water.
This special one I made with my fav buddies Kimberly and Aimee. Itis so yummy and colourful. There are few twist to the original recipe to make it work with a house oven.
Us three are such a great team together, it is incredible how we complete each other skills. To the point we are now working on a (some) retreat in South Europe. But meanwhile with Kimberly we are hosting a supper club in south London (we are southern gall so we like to go south all the time, maybe we chase the sun) the gathering is on the 27th of April 2017. So if you want to try our food and meet us come along!
This focaccia is so yummy and colourful. There are few twist to the original recipe to make it work with a house oven. Also in Italy we have dry sourdough powder, and dry barley malt powder, both totally natural and very handy to make a quick sourdough focaccia. In England I use instead fresh brew yeast, is a little square you can find in the fridge at Whole Food Market (I use Rapunzel); but you can definitely use the quick dry brew yeast ( I use Doves Farm).
Instead of the dry malt I quickly heat up some rice or barley malt to prevent its live bacteria to ruin the baking. You can skip it and use instead half a tea spoon of an other healthy sugar to just help the rising, but malt gives to the focaccia a nice golden colour and crunchy edges.
Try this easy recipe yourself and let me know your results in the comment section!
Preparation Time: 15 minutes + 15 minutes
Resting and Rising Time: 40 minutes + 25 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 10 -12 as a starter/snack
Ingredients for the focaccia dough:
1 Tbsp barley malt heated up before using it ( it gives a golden colour and crispy texture).
40g fresh brew yeast (rapunzel) or 1 tsp quick dry yeast (I use doves farm)
enough luke warm water to give the dough a soft, sticky texture (start carefully with 100ml and take it from there)
250g spelt or wholemeal flour
250g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
Ingredients for the baking process:
120ml cup water
120ml cup oil
2 teaspoon fine salt + some salt flakes
Ingredients for the toppings:
3-4 large red onions (they diminish in size to a third when cooked)
a pinch of salt
olive oil for pan frying
1-2 handfuls of washed rocket leaves
a sprinkle of rosemary
Dissolve the pre heated malt in around 100ml of luke warm water and add the fresh yeast. Or follow the maker direction for the instant yeast.
Put the 2 flours and the salt in a large bowl and mix until combined. Then make a hole in the centre of the bowl continaing the flour and fill it with the the oil and the yeast/barley/water mixture. Start kneading and add more lukewarm water very carefully until you have the right consistency. Then knead the dough until a silky, soft and slightly sticky dough has been formed (around 5 minutes or so)
Leave the dough to rise in the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen cloth for 40 min in the oven with the oven lights on. The lights create a bit of heat in the oven which will allow the dough to rise perfectly.
After the 40 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl, kneed it again briefly and then place it on a large baking sheet or tray (which has been covered with generously oiled non-stick baking paper) stretching the dough into a flat bread shape, about 1,5/2 cm thick. Leave to rise again in a warm spot for about 25 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 200C/390F.
Before placing your focaccia dough in the oven, using all 5 of your fingers on 1 hand, make deep holes in the dough. Stretch the dough as you make the holes so you "brake" it, and the holes do not close again during the cooking. Then quickly whisk together the 120ml water/120ml olive oil /salt and cover the dough with this liquid, filling all holes 8 I know looks like a lot of liquid to put on top but trust me it is needed). Place the dough in the hot oven, over the medium rack, for about 25/30 minutes or until just golden brown.
Whilst the dough is in the oven prepare the toppings by peeling and then cutting the red onions finely in half moon. Fry them in a dash of olive oil and pinch of salt, over a low to medium heat until soft and translucent, around 10 minutes or so. Adjust salt to taste.
When the focaccia is ready, remove it from the oven, cover it with pan fried red onion, fresh rocket leaves, a sprinkle of rosemary and salt flakes (more oil) and enjoy!
Love Silvia xx