Italian Focaccia Bread with Rosemary, Garlic, Cherry Tomatoes and Olive Oil. Picture: Supplied
Italian Focaccia Bread with Rosemary, Garlic, Cherry Tomatoes and Olive Oil. Picture: Supplied

RECIPE: 'Grow’ your own Sourdough Focaccia

By Lifestyle reporter Time of article published Apr 21, 2020

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Everyone is coping in their own way with coronavirus lockdown in the country. 

Some are setting up home gyms, while others are brushing up on their baking skills.

That said, sourdough bakes seem to be particularly popular among the new bakers. 

While in lockdown, get started as a bread artist with The Table Bay’s “easy-to-grow” Sourdough Focaccia bread. 

The Table Bay hotel's executive chef, Keshan Ramburan believes everyone should dabble in the art of bread making, which like any hobby is good for the soul. The result of baking is a delectable treat to be shared with your family, that you can eat it with butter, with a meal or with fresh toppings or dips. 

But with sourdough baking, it's not as easy as putting ingredients together and an hour later you have bread. It's a process.

“First off, you need to ‘grow’ your sourdough starter. Since wild yeast is present in all flour, the easiest way to make a starter is simply by combining flour and water and letting it sit for several days. 

"Making a sourdough starter takes about five days but it can take longer depending on the conditions in your kitchen. Each day you ‘feed’ the starter with equal amounts of fresh flour and water. 

"As the wild yeast grows stronger, the starter will become more frothy and sour-smelling. As long as you see bubbles and signs of yeast activity, continue feeding it regularly,” says Ramburan. 

Italian focaccia bread with rosemary, garlic, cherry tomatoes and olive oil. Picture: Supplied

Below is how you can go about ‘growing’ your sourdough focaccia. 

Sourdough starter 

Ingredients 

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup of water

Method

Combine flour and water and place it in a glass or plastic container (not metal). Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel secured with a rubber band.

Place the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 20 to 23 degrees Celsius (like the top of the refrigerator) and allow it to sit for 24 hours.

Continue to feed your starter every day for at least five days to ensure that it stays strong.

Sourdough Focaccia 

Ingredients

100g active sourdough starter 

10g sea salt, plus extra for toppings

440g water

512g bread flour

45ml olive oil

Toppings (cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary)

Method

Day 1

Mix the sourdough starter, water, salt, and flour. Stretch and fold the dough until the gluten is developed. Place into a bowl, and coat the top with olive oil. Lightly cover, and rest the dough at room temperature for up to 18 hours, until it has doubled in size.

Day 2

Use your hands to deflate the dough. Drizzle the 45ml olive oil over the dough. Flatten the dough on the countertop. Pull from the sides and press the dough into the centre to tighten.

Turn the dough over so that the seam side faces down. Line a 22x33 cm baking pan with oil. Place the dough into the centre of the pan. Coat the top of the dough with olive oil, lightly cover and leave at room temperature for about 5 to 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 218 degrees Celsius. Coat your hands with oil and gently press into the dough to dimple and stretch it to fit the pan. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and chosen toppings. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden colour. Transfer to the cooling rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

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