Apr 27, 2009 by bartolimu | 0 Comments| Share it:
How to make Focaccia
Double-Buttermilk Sourdough Focaccia with Serrano Chiles, Shallots and Goat Cheese
I’ve been wanting to experiment with sourdough for a while, and this seemed like a good opportunity. I found both the starter and final loaf recipes online. Whether the buttermilk serves as a bacterial jump start or just provides the right acidity for something else to move in I’m not sure, but either way it worked.
IngredientsIngredients Part 1: Buttermilk Starter
1 cup water
1/4 cup buttermilk
1.5 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Get this rolling 3-5 days in advance, as you'll need a big happy colony of bacteria come baking time.
See below for additional ingredients that you will need.
Combine all ingredients in a 1 quart or larger jar. Mix thoroughly, put in a warm part of your kitchen and ignore.
As time goes on, fermentation will begin. This starter got an odd yellowish scum on top of it, but underneath it was definitely working.
At this stage you have what is known by some cooks as a mother. If you intend to keep the mother, you must feed the mother regularly. If you intend to use the mother only once, it will live up to a week without feeding. Some people advocate a cycle of nearly starving the mother followed by several feedings, to toughen up the bacteria and provide a resilient and vigorous mother.
Ingredients Part 2: Buttermilk Sourdough Stage 1, Proofing: 1 cup active mother 1/2 cup flour 1/2 cup warm water 1 teaspoon sugar Stage 2, Expanding: 3 cups flour 2 cups water Stage 3, Bread making: 1.25 cups cold buttermilk 4 cups flour 2 teaspoons salt Additional buttermilk and flour as necessary to attain desired consistency Method Stage 1, Proofing Combine all Stage 1 ingredients in your favorite mixing bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 hours. In the end your colony should be happily (but slowly) bubbling.
Stage 2, Expanding This stage is about providing our bacteria with a larger playground and getting the population really rolling. Combine all ingredients with the results of Stage 1. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight (8+ hours). If all goes well you will be greeted in the morning with a much more energetic and happy fermentation:
Stage 3, bread making Having finally built up a nice supply of our culture, we are ready to start making actual bread. Add the Stage 3 ingredients and mix until the dough comes together into a cohesive mass. Knead by hand for 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth (but probably still a bit sticky).
Cover with a moist cloth and let rise for 3-4 hours.
Beat this down and roll/stretch/whatever it into your baking vessel. Let that rise in a warm (~100 degrees F) oven for 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, let's consider toppings. Toppings 8 small shallots 8 serrano chiles Some form of aged goat cheese Midnight Moon, the cheese I'm using here, is very rich and has a strong floral/honey component to it. This made it an excellent complement to the sour notes in the bread.
Mince and/or thinly slice the shallots.
And serranos, removing as much or as little of the chiles' hearts as you like to control heat.
Slowly caramelize the vegetables in a pan (somehow I missed photographing this even though it took a half hour). Distribute over the top of the focaccia before baking, finishing with micro-planed goat cheese.
Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven 30-40 minutes or until done. Serve in wedges with butter if desired.
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