The Sourdough Chronicles VI: Concluding for now with a rosemary focaccia

P1020150Rosemary sourdough focaccia fresh from the oven

It has been exactly 9 days since I first mixed up the new starter.  Last night I made the levain or sponge from it for the focaccia recipe here.  Here's the risen levain early this morning: P1020136

Here's the whole recipe, including the levain, above:

SOURDOUGH FOCACCIA WITH ROSEMARY

LEVAIN

100 grams active, bubbly sourdough starter

100 grams room temperature tap water

100 grams unbleached bread flour

DOUGH

300 grams room temperature tap water

400 grams unbleached bread flour

9 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) fine sea salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

6-7 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (I used Maldon sea salt)

One 2-inch deep 9-inch round pan

1.  Stir the water into the levain; add the flour, salt, and rosemary: P1020141

2.  Use a rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together to form a rough dough, making sure all the flour is well incorporated: P1020144

3.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 2 hours; it will increase in volume a little but it won't double.

4.  Scrape the rested dough to a floured work surface.

5.  Pat the dough to a disk then fold the right side over the middle and the left side over that.  Roll down from the top to form a fat cylinder: P1020145B

6.  Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with 1/4 cup olive oil and place the dough in the pan smooth side upward.  Use your fingertips to press the dough evenly into the pan: P1020147

7.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the focaccia proof until risen to within about 1/2-inch of the top of the pan, about 2 hours.

8.  About half an hour ebfore you intend to bake the focaccia, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

9.  Gently poke the fully proofed focaccia with your fingertips to dimple it and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and the salt: P1020149
10.  Bake the focaccia on the lower rack for 15 minutes, then move it to the upper rack.  Bake until well browned and to an internal temperature of 200 degrees, about 10 to 15 minutes longer (see the first photo above).  Unmold to a rack and cool right side up.  See that the bottom is also nicely browned: P1020151

Here's the interior with a fine but open crumb and plenty of small holes: P1020152

QUICK CHANGES

Omit the rosemary or substitute fresh sage or a tablespoon of dried herbs.

For a thinner focaccia, use a 10-inch round pan; it will bake a little more quickly.

That's it for now.  Tuesday I leave for a much-needed vacation in Thailand.  I'll be posting from Bangkok after I arrive on Thursday afternoon.  Some of you know that Thai cooking is my "other hat." I'll be taking a couple of lessons with renowned teacher Khun Gobgaew Najpinij at her school in Bangkok and visiting nahm, David Thompson's restaurant, to write an article about the sweets made there by his partner Tanongsap Yordwai.  I can hardly wait.