The strong aroma of garlic and herbs was enhanced by frying these ingredients in olive oil to bring out their flavours and taste.
Imagine the delicious aroma of garlic and herbs floating around the house! That’s what happens when you bake this lovely bread. It may appear to be a lot of preparation, but if you have all the ingredients on hand, it’s not an issue.
Biga made the night before. 8 cloves fresh garlic, roughly chopped
120gm All Purpose flour 1/2 tsp grounded black peppercorns
56gm Whole wheat flour 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
227gm water 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried yeast 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary.
Dough made next day.
All of the Biga 2 tbs olive oil plus 2 tbs more for sprinkling
600gm All Purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
316gm water 1 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt.
2 tbs potato flakes 1 tbs Maldon sea salt for sprinkling
Make the Biga the night before and this should take you only a couple of minutes. Leave this covered, overnight on the kitchen table at room temperature.
The next morning, peel the garlic cloves and roughly chop them. In a non-stick frying pan, pour 2 tbs. olive oil and throw in the chopped garlic, the basil, oregano and grounded black peppercorns. When the oil starts to bubble, remove the pan from the fire and let the oil cool, meanwhile stirring the garlic and herbs in the hot oil to extract the aroma. Do not allow the garlic to brown.
In a large bowl, place the Biga and 316gm water. Stir to mix and add in the dried yeast. Let this rest for 10 to 15 minutes and then add in the AP flour, potato flakes, and finally the pink Himalayan salt. Mix these till there are no spots of dry flour. The total hydration is 70%. Let this dough rest 30 minutes before doing the first stretch and fold. I did 4 sets of stretch and folds at 40 minutes intervals, and thereafter, resting the dough for one hour, before transferring it to a well floured surface. Rest the dough 20 minutes to relax it, and then transfer to a 12 x 16 inch oiled baking pan. Press the dough lightly with your fingers, spreading the dough to cover the surface of the baking pan. Let the dough rest again for another hour.
Then sprinkle about 2 tbs olive oil on the surface of the dough and use a brush to spread the oil evenly all over the surface. Make holes in the dough with the end of a chop stick, then sprinkle the Maldon sea salt. Finally sprinkle the dried rosemary over the surface of the focaccia. Rest the dough again for 30 minutes while you heat the oven to 230˚C.
Bake the focaccia at 230˚C for about 20 minutes till it begins to turn golden brown, and then at 205˚C for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove, cool and enjoy!
Frying the chopped garlic and herbs in olive oil but not browning the garlic.
It’s easier to mix the biga and water together first before adding the dry components.
In mixing the flour in, ensure that there are no dry spots of flour.
After bulk proofing, transfer the dough to a floured mat and let the it rest for 20 minutes.
To reduce the oiliness of the focaccia, I use a baking sheet and spray oil thinly on the paper.
Spread the olive oil over the focaccia with a brush before poking holes, and sprinkling salt and rosemary.
While the oven rise is not as good as I would like it to be, the crumb was still light and airy.
“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.” —M.F.K. Fisher