Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Focaccia Integrale al Pure di Olive

Spring never ceases to amaze me. I walk outside on a nice day and plants that weren't up the day before are suddenly four inches high. My chives are coming in and the lily of the valley have sent up spires that will soon unfurl into the leaves that cover the shady fence line and, for a week, delicate flowers that perfume the entire yard.
The chives are what I was after last night though. So tender at the beginning of the season, they were the perfect accompaniment to this whole wheat focaccia with olive paste. A hearty, nutty loaf, with just the right balance of savoury and saltiness to offset whole wheat's slightly bitter flavour. This went nicely with soup for dinner last night, but, as I made it in a tart tin, my mind started to wander to the possibilities of making several in little 4 inch tart tins for gourmet yet healthy burger buns. Hmmm... that would be good.
Focaccia Integrale al Pure di Olive
Whole-Wheat Focaccia with Olive Paste
Carol Field, Focaccia
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water, 105-115f.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp black olive paste
2 1/2 cups (350grams) stone-ground whole-wheat flour, plus 2 tbsp as needed. (I needed a bit more)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp black olive paste
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Sea salt (I used Maldon - this is the time to use the good, flaky salt)
Olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley (I used chives)
1. Sprinkle the yeast over the arm water in a large mixing or mixer bowl, whisk it in, and let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. If you are making the dough by hand, stir in the olive oil and black olive paste, then the 2 1/2 cups of flour and salt in 2 additions, and mix well until the dough comes together. You may need to add 2 tbsp more whole-wheat flour to get a good texture. Knead on a lightly floured work surface for 8 to 10 minutes.
2. If you are using a heavy-duty electric mixer, set the paddle attachment in place and stir the olive oil and black olive paste into the yeast mixture. Add the flour and salt and mix well until a dough has formed. Change to the dough hook and knead for 1 to 2 minutes on low speed, then 4 to 5 minutes on medium speed, or until the dough is soft, pliable, and elastic.
3. First rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough should be slightly sticky, firm, and responsive.
4. Shaping and second rise. Press the dough into a well-oiled 10 inch round pie pan and spread it to fit the bottom of the pan. Cover it with a moist towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. (I used an 11 inch tart pan)
5. Baking. At least 30 minutes before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 400f with a baking stone inside, if you have one. Just before baking, dimple the top of the focaccia with your knuckles. (I used my fingertips) Blend the olive paste and the 3 tbsp of olive oil in a small bowl and paint the mixture over the dough, being sure to press it into the holes. Sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over the top of the focaccia and drizzle it with a ribbon of olive oil that covers the edges and exposed portions of the dough. Place the pan directly on the stone and bake the focaccia for 22-25 minutes, or until golden, spraying the walls and floor of the oven with cold water from a spritzer bottle 3 times in the first 10 minutes. A minute of two before you take the focaccia out of the oven, sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top. Remove the focaccia from the pan and place on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (I drizzled mine with a little more olive oil and topped with chopped chives)
Makes one 10 inch round focaccia (11); serves about 6

This focaccia has been Yeastspotted!