Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gluten Free Focaccia Bread with Garlic and Parmesan

The Ratio Rally challenge for this month is Focaccia Bread.  I never had this kind of bread before I went gluten free so I wasn’t sure what it should taste like.  I decided to do a little research on traditional Focaccia bread.  I found out that it is usually made with a biga, which is a mild sourdough starter used in Italy.  I found this article helpful in understanding the basics of how to make Focaccia, and what it should taste like, though I found that a couple of the tips did not apply well to gluten free dough.  I also had never made sourdough because for some reason, sourdough always made me sick when I was eating gluten so I have never been that attached to it.  I found I really like this mild sourdough flavor and texture, and it really wasn’t hard to make at all!

The information I found says that Focaccia should be very wet dough, my normal gluten free doughs have between 100 and 110% hydration (the ratio of liquid to flour) so I decided to try 120% for this recipe.  I weighed using grams as this is more precise.  I used to always avoid weighing out ingredients because it took so much longer to weigh each individual ingredient, but I’ve learned a little trick that makes it much faster.  I place my mixing bowl on the scale and turn it on.  I start with the first ingredient and weigh out the correct amount, and then if the math is easy I just keep adding ingredients.  It you are worried about messing up the math, simply push the zero or tare button on the scale between each item.  This was just as fast as measuring with cups and spoons.

First make the biga:

180 g warm water
3g dry active yeast
75 g sorghum flour
125 g brown rice flour
50 g tapioca flour
25 g potato flour
25 g corn flour
5 g xanthan gum

Dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside.  Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and blend well.  Stir about one third of the flour blend into the water/yeast mixture, until it has the consistency of a thick cake batter.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set in a warm place to proof for at least 3 hours.  Add 5 g baking powder to the flour mix.  Cover the remaining flour and set aside.

Make the bread:

140 G Water
40 g oil
5 g psyllium husk
5 g salt

Stir together and let rest for at least 10 minutes.   The psyllium will absorb a great deal of the moisture and will look like a thin jelly.
Pour the biga, the water and psyllium mixture and the remaining flour into the bowl of your mixer.  Blend the dough on low speed until combined then turn the speed up to high and mix for 3-4 minutes.
The dough will feel somewhat elastic, this is from the psyllium.  Spread it out in a well oiled rectangular cake pan.  Top with olive oil, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, whatever sounds good!  Push dents into the dough to the bottom of the pan using your fingers to give it the classic dimpled uneven look…
Cover with a damp towel and set in a warm place to rise.  This dough will rise quickly; it should double in 30 minutes.  Heat the oven to 375 and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Allow the bread to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.  

Garlic Parmesan topping: 
Stir together and sprinkle on baked bread

2 tablespoons dry parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend

A couple notes on this bread- it is very easy to over-rise this bread since it rises so quickly.  If it is risen too much, it will shrink during baking.  I found that the bread did not brown very much, probably because there is not sugar or egg. I sprinkled a small amount of the Parmesan topping on the bread before baking to help it brown.

For other great recipies, check out all the other Ratio Rally Participants:
Here’s the entire list of creations for this month:
Heather | Discovering the Extraordinary    Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia Bread                                    Morri | Meals with Morri made Sweet Cinnamon Raisin Focaccia Bread
mary fran | frannycakes made Gluten Free Sage Foccacia
~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R) made Focaccia Bread
Silvana | Silvana’s Kitchen made Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Focaccia
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Gluten Free Cheesy Herb Focaccia
Shauna | Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef made Gluten Free Cherry and Almond Focaccia