Sourdough focaccia

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Rosemary & sun-dried tomato sourdough focaccia

I made this for Bob’s colleague’s daughter. When we had them over, I expected the little girls to make a beeline for the candies but she lingered around the focaccia instead! This is NOT typical focaccia – sourdough and half-whole wheat flour – which gives it a bit more chew. I don’t think ‘chew’ belongs in a focaccia, but it was delicious nonetheless. I did half rosemary, half sun-dried tomatoes in oil – but DON’T use sun-dried tomatoes! Or if you do, bury them well because with all their oil and sweetness, they burn and turn dark and bitter. After I pulled it out of the oven, I realized I’ve made this mistake a few times already. When will i learn…

I adapted an Amy’s Bread recipe to use my leaven, so here goes:

Sourdough focaccia (makes a big focaccia, approx. 40×20)
415g                 water
1/4-1/2 tsp       instant yeast
340g                 leaven, 100%-hydration
650g                 flour
42g                  milk
36g                  olive oil
12g                  salt
* your choice of toppings, more olive oil and salt flakes

Autolyse without the milk, olive oil and salt.
Add milk, olive oil and salt, mix till mostly silky.
Proof till nearly doubled, with two folds.
This is the part I like: line tin with parchment paper, pour olive oil and amply grease every corner (and incidentally your poor dried-out hands, if you’re like me). Then gently coax your puffy dough to spread out into tin. You’ll see it won’t protest too much – who would, swathed by all that dark green oil..

Preheat oven at 220 degrees celsius. Steam required or (see below)
When it’s doubled in height and ready to go into oven, dimple the dough with more olive oil (I always err on the side of conservative, but there’s no such thing, I think, as too much olive oil in a focaccia!), your choice of toppings and sea salt flakes, and watch the bubbles pop up here and there.
I mix some olive oil and water in a little bowl, and dimple and flicker this oil-water mixture over the dough. I find this provides plenty of steam. In fact, you’ll probably have to open the oven a few times during baking (watch out for hot steam!) to let out the steam, otherwise it won’t brown.

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Be gentle with the bubbly dough!

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