Focaccia

Focaccia

Italian breads seem to be a recurrent theme with the TWD group over the last couple of months. First pizza, now focaccia. Not that we are complaining. Going back to our gluten eating days, we did enjoy focaccia on occasion, in fact, while living in Montana, a local health conscious baker, built his own wood fired oven, in order to do justice making some of the old style, rustic European breads. A lot of his breads were sourdough based, and focaccia was no exception. Usually only available on a weekend, unless you placed a special order, these specialty breads would disappear as soon as they emerged from the oven.  Since not everyone in our household shares our personal love for Italian food, focaccia is generally not at the top of the list, when baking bread. We do love a challenge, and never having tried focaccia gluten free before, we felt we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

The contributing baker to the original recipe is Craig Kominiak, and he calls for two rising periods, followed by a resting period of 24-36 hours in the refrigerator. Generally, from our own humble experience, gluten free baking is not always amenable to these extra long resting periods. As a result, our own gluten free adaptation differs greatly from the original. When developing any recipe, we always cut the recipe in half, just in case it flops. This was no different.  The changes we made included the preparation of a simple sponge prepared a day ahead, consisting of sorghum flour, brown rice flour and water. The remaining flour blend included brown rice, tapioca, sweet rice and potato starch, along with psyllium seed soaked in coconut milk, one egg and the addition of 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar.  Fresh thyme and rosemary, along with a couple of tablespoons of fresh Parmesan cheese were worked into the dough before rising. The dough was allowed to rise for 1-1/2 hours, during which time it nearly tripled in size. Quite a feat for any gluten free dough.

Focaccia

Spreading a dusting of rice flour onto a baking board, we divided the dough in half, and pressed it into rough oval shapes, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a fork we pierced holes throughout the dough, allowing it to bake evenly. We brushed the top with olive oil, sprinkled it with fresh thyme, rosemary and halved cherry tomatoes, along with salt and pepper.

Focaccia

The focaccia baked for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated 450°F oven. The best thing about making this recipe is how the entire house fills with the delicious aroma of fresh herbs and baking bread.

Never having made gluten free focaccia, we consider this recipe to be a great success, in both texture and flavor. We were also quite impressed how easy the dough was to work with, along with the fact that the final result mirrored the description in the Baking with Julia book, as well as our memories of regular focaccia (however faint – it is quite a while back now).

Focaccia

In the future, we will definitely give the “refrigerated resting time for the dough” a try, as well as experiment with a non-savory version.

Please check out all the wonderful contributions by the other TWD bakers at this link, as well as the beautiful contribution by this week’s host Sharmini of Wandering Through.

34 thoughts on “Focaccia

    1. Thank you Sandra.We try our best creating gluten free recipes that both look and taste good, free of any artificial ingredients. Photography is the little “dot” on the ‘i’ and the highlight of making every recipe.

  1. I’m also amazed at your gf variety. I’m traveling to visit family out of state next week and will invite everyone to my mom’s 85th birthday dinner which I will make just for fun…but, it’s good to be reminded that I have a niece who needs gf foods. I’m not in the habit of remembering her needs as I only see her once a year. You are helping me with some good ideas…and ideas that will fit into what everyone else is eating. I appreciate your point of view and your positive approach. Thanks! Your focaccia/photos are beautiful. Very well done.

  2. Inge and Gillian: I am impressed with your gf version of this Focaccia recipe and I really like the wonderful traditional toppings of fresh thyme, olive oil, grape tomatoes and seasonings. It is always wonderful to know that your blog is a great source of information and inspiartion that we can all refer to for gf recipes. Your photos are also just amazing too!
    Have a great Thursday! And, of course, since today marks the beginning of the Carnival season around here – “Alaaf” and “Helau”!

  3. I am so impressed too with your gluten free version!!! what a good job!!
    Your foccacia looks beautiful!!!
    To answer your question about the flour I used it’s bread flour, in France we call it: T65.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Europe has so many options for the different types of flour, differentiated by the type of grind used. If you can eat gluten, using whole grain bread flour would definitely add more nutrition.

  4. Your focaccia looks so beautiful with those cherry tomato halves. I am so impressed with your gluten free versions of the recipes and I really like how you seem so amenable to the challenge. So glad that the gluten free was as successful as the regular recipe. Lovely job!

    1. Thank you so much, Elaine. We know that you can convert most recipes to gluten free version. It is just a matter of trial and error. Sometimes multiple trials. In the end, we were surprised how easy this focaccia recipe fell into place right away. We wish it turned out that way more often.

    1. Thanks, Liz. We usually have cherry tomatoes in the house and they just seemed to add the extra “something” needed in this recipe. They also added just the right amount of color, enhancing the photography.

  5. Your focaccia looks great, and the photos are beautiful. Having experimented a little with gluten-free baking, I’m curious about the psyllium seed soaked in coconut milk. What is its purpose?

    1. Thanks for stopping by. We didn’t want to use the gums for binding the flour in this recipe. Psyllium seed powder in combination with either water or milk can serve as an excellent substitute.

  6. Your bread looks wonderful- you have quite obviously become a baking pro with the gluten free recipes- good for you!

  7. Ladies, this is simply impressive! Love the cherry tomatoes and the rosemary topping as well. I was just reading about a gf cookie recipe that uses a very long refrigeration method.

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