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Sourdough olive and rosemary focaccia

October 21, 2009

olive 1

I made a tray of olive and rosemary focaccia for a big family lunch we had on the weekend. Actually I was making some sourdough bread and decided to convert half my dough into focaccia. I had made a very wet dough so it was really suitable for focaccia – in that it just happily oozed its way across the tray and only needed a bit of prodding to get it into shape! I pressed in some kalamata olives and sprigs of rosemary, and then brushed the top with olive oil. It proved to be very popular and the whole tray disappeared in a matter of minutes. Sam and Tara complained that they only got three pieces each. When I pointed out that it was two pieces more than what I had, they just stared at me blankly. So after all those pleas I made some more yesterday morning. The picture above was of yesterday’s effort (the first one disappeared far too quickly to take a photo). I used a quarter of rye flour in yesterday’s batch – if you look closely at the photos you can see the flecks of rye in it. The rye made it a fraction denser and chewier. Not a bad outcome. The crust was lovely and crunchy when it was straight out of the oven (yes we could not wait for more than 2 minutes after taking it out before we cut into it!). After it cooled the crust got softer – due to the rye and the olive oil on top I think. I had less rosemary this second time which was a mistake. I also sprinkled some salt on top as my dough had barely any salt in it and the olives were not as salty as the ones I used on the weekend. This second tray of focaccia has also all but gone in a day…and this time with just our little family (plus a chunk that went to my parents). The kids and I ate it for breakfast, and then they took some to school (as you can see in the photo of Sam’s lunchbox below). I get the feeling that I am going to be making focaccia quite a bit in the coming weeks.

olive 2

Speaking of adding focaccia to the standard bread baking that I am now doing on a twice weekly basis….I would like to state for the record that kneading two and a half kilos of dough (double my normal quantity) is very hard work indeed! Where does the term bakers arms comes from? In the old days if they were kneading by hand surely they would have had seriously muscled arms? Or did the stereotypical doughy arms result from bakers consuming too much of their own products (a warning to me)?! I was totally stuffed after a bare 10 minutes of the folding-stretching type of kneading you have to do with a wet dough. Equivalent to a boxing class I think!

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