September 23, 2011 - 10:09am
Focaccia technique question
I made Reinhart's focaccia recipe from the BBA a couple weeks ago and it turned out very well. Interestingly, I noticed that the olive oil and water are simultaneously mixed with the flour. I understand that fats are typically added later in the mixing process so that the gluten is given more time to form and so the fat doesn't lubricate the gluten and prevent it from forming longer strands.
Is this the typical mixing process for focaccia? Am I right in believing that the mixing order (combined with the dough's high hydration and generous fat content) produces the tender crumb of a well-baked focaccia? Has anyone tried a different mixing order or an autolyse with focaccia?
Focaccia is a somewhat chewy bread; that's the result of the oil in the formula. I think you'll find that using a different method for preparing the dough will give you a different texture. But there's no reason you shouldn't try it.
If you're making bread which needs good gluten strengh for volume, yes, it's better to add oil/fat after the gluten is well developed, but focaccia is not bread like that because it's a sort of 'flat' bread (with some thickness). In fact, it is better gluten is developed moderately to get large, random holes in the crumb.