In this recipe, let's show you how to make two great works, a Double batch Cheese & Focaccia Sour Dough. Refer to my notes in the sourdough page on starter and leaven before you begin. You will need to have a mature starter and active leaven before you get going on any sourdough recipe. We are going to make a loaf with Parmesan, cheese, pepper & rosemary; for the second we will use about a third of the dough for a small Focaccia. Add the rosemary & pepper in the flour mixture right from the start before the water, distribute well throughout the flour; add the other inclusions on your 2nd last fold and stretch. I am using 50 gm of Ezekial flour in this recipe, this is an ancient mixture of flour. If this is not available don't fret, you can use a host of other flours, spelt, 7 grain or double up on one of the other rye or whole wheat.
Course: bread, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, French, Italian
Keyword: Artisan Bread, Baking Sour Dough Bread in a Dutch Oven, cooking ideas with bread, Dutch Oven, Focaccia, how to bake bread, how to make bread in a Dutch oven, kneading, sour dough bread, stretch & fold
Add all your flours together with pepper and dried rosemary use generous portions of rosemary, sprinkle tell the top of your flour is covered, mix well! Now add 450 gm of water of your total water at 28 – 32 degrees to flour; mix well so no flour is left unabsorbed. It is common practice to use your hands for this.
Now we perform a process called Autolyse, What is Autolyse, This is a procedure where we let the mixture sit and develop gluten before adding salt, it lessens the time needed to knead or fold and stretch your dough as this process begins to develop the gluten and simple sugars begin to form. The dough temperature needs to be between 23- 28 degrees to develop gluten’ & sugar so once you add the water keep in a warm spot. You can use a common trick of turning the oven light on and placing your container of dough in the oven, to keep warm or you can always buy a bread proofer. The temperature should be monitored as you do not want it too hot or too cold. Let the mixture sit for 30 min.
Now add your leaven, mix well with your hands, then let it sit for another 30-60 minutes; making sure to monitor dough temperature, keeping it between 23 – 28 degrees. If you are using the oven by turning on the light on, make sure you monitor as you do not want to get the dough too warm either; so, turn off the light if the temperature starts to gets to 26 degrees. Now add your salt by sprinkling it evenly over your dough; then add 25 gm of water (28-32 degree) and mix well with hands. This is now considered to be the end of the autolyze once the salt is added; this is also where I start to fold the dough in bowl; folding it back on its self and push down; do this until the mixture starts to get sticky again. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes in between the in-bowl kneading, give your dough time to develop.
Continue to add the remaining water in increments (25 gm’s) until your total allotment of 560 gm; folding the dough back onto itself repeatably until it starts to be sticky again; essentially you are kneading the bread. Let dough sit in the same warm spot for another 30 minutes allowing it to settle and ferment.
Now you can now start to stretch and fold the dough. To stretch and fold, grab one corner of dough and pull up as much as the dough will allow then fold dough back onto itself, rotate 90 degrees and do the same until you complete a few rotations; typically, this is done 3–4 times at regular intervals, I use 15 - 20 minutes in between each F&S.
Place remainder in another mixing bowl then add inclusions, this will help distribute them nicely through the dough. In this case Parmesan & Cheese (Old!), then fold and stretch; let sit one last time then complete last fold and stretch. Let the dough sit until its risen by roughly 50 per cent; this should take 2 hrs., it will depend on the climate you are in.
Take the dough out of your container; place on a lightly floured counter top. Fold the dough back on itself, taking care to be a little gentler now with dough. Turn the dough over with a dough knife (if you have one); sprinkle a little flour on top; and tighten up by pushing in on the bottom and rotating at the same time. Let the dough sit for 15 – 20 minutes (bench rest).
For the Focaccia use a small pan, you can use parchment paper with this if you wish. Cover pan or parchment liberally with olive oil; pour more olive oil on top of dough and dimple it down with your fingers. Once you have dimpled down to flat piece of dough; start adding toppings to your taste, I will use, for today's recipe, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, red pepper, red onion, sausage & bacon, topped with some fresh rosemary and cilantro. For now, cover with some saran wrap and place in the fridge.
Back to the cheese bread now! Flip the dough over seam side up and place on parchment paper dusted with cornmeal; place in forming the bowl. Now you can stitch the bread; Stitching is taking a small piece of the outside part of your dough and pulling it back to the middle of the dough; applying a little pressure so that it sticks to itself. This procedure tightens up your dough into a nice ball, which makes for a better rise. You can now add some garnish at this point as well, seeds, nuts, rosemary whatever you fancy. Leave in a warm spot (oven w/ light or just through some tea towels over container; monitor rise you are looking for a roughly 30-40% rise; try to catch on the rise, do not let it over prove as it makes for a flat loaf; give it a poke with your finger if it gently responds it is ready; too quickly and its not ready. Now cover and place in the fridge for the night.
Next day, preheat oven to 550 degrees F and place the Dutch oven in to for 45 minutes. In the meantime, you can now easily score your loaf with a scoring knife, if not available just use a sharp knife. Scoring allows the dough to open up on your cuts during its oven rise. Take the Dutch oven out and place dough in the Dutch oven along with the parchment paper. Take a spray bottle and give it a couple of sprays of water; this helps in keeping the crust soft, place lid back on then place in the oven for 5 minutes at 550 F; now turn down the temperature down to 450 degrees for 30 minutes; again, these times will vary as ovens vary. Take out of the oven and remove lid; loaf should be golden brown at this point. Pour a little olive oil over top and use a brush to spread over the top of the loaf; this aids to a nice soft crust. Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes without a lid; remove from oven, the loaf should be a darker brown now; if not place back in for 5 minutes or so until it is. Remove from oven and let sit on a grid or rack for an hour before cutting & Enjoy!
Now for the Focaccia! I use a pizza stone to help cook the bread, but first I put the pan in for 5 minutes to cook for easier handling for transfer to the pizza stone. If you do not have a stone just use your pan for the entire process.
Let’s get started; turn oven to 550 F and place the pizza stone in for 45 minutes to get nice and hot. Take the dough out of the fridge & add some fresh garlic, some coarse salt & pepper and slices of mozzarella or provolone cheese optional of course with one last dousing of olive oil. Place pan in the oven for 5 minutes; remove the pan, turning the oven down to 450 F, sprinkle some cornmeal on stone and transfer focaccia to pizza stone with a pizza spatula. Let cook for 10 minutes, keeping an eye! Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into – enjoy!