Gourmet Focaccia

Focaccia is one of those bread recipes for which there are thousands of variations. And why not? Everyone's Italian grandmother, and even grandmothers that are not Italian, had a different variation. This focaccia is an amalgam of two principle recipes that were then made gluten-free: the Fresh Loaf, the artisan baker's website, http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6039/authentic-focaccia-recipe and a similar recipe in Chef Laurent Tourondel's 2008 book Bistro Laurent Tourondel, from the public library. What is unique about these two recipes:

Gluten Free Gourmet Focaccia
Amount Measure Ingredient and Instructions
1 Cup Your favorite gluten free flour. I used half of each of the two following: Carol Fenster's and Strong bread flour.
2/3 Cup Warm water - 105° F
2-1/2 teaspoons Instant yeast - SAF preferred (This is equivalent to a package of yeast.)
    Mix the above three ingredients together and place in a warm, draft-free location for at least 1 hour. This is the biga. It should get very foamy and develop a strong yeasty smell.
1/2 Cup Cook a potato in the microwave until it is tender. Scoop out potato and pack in a measuring cup until you have 1/2 cup.

2 minus

 

Cups Your favorite gluten free flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of flour. You will make up the loss with the sweet rice flour below.
2 Tablespoons Sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground rosemary. You can also add garlic powder to taste.
1-1/2 teaspoons Xanthan gum
1-1/2 teaspoons Guar gum or additional xanthan gum if you do not have guar gum. Don't buy guar gum just for this recipe.
    Put the above ingredients, including the biga in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well for 2 minutes.
    Now add the following three ingredients to the work bowl and beat for 5 minutes
2/3 Cup White wine - sweet or dry. If you have only dry wine and want a sweeter bread, add up to 1 Tablespoon sugar
4 - 5 Tablespoons Warm water - 105° F If you add more water, you will have bigger bubbles, but the dough will be harder to work with and take longer to bake.
3 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
     
about 1/2 Tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup Corn meal (more or less)
    Generously coat the bottom of a 12 inch or 13-1/2 inch Pizza pan with the olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal. Target has a 13-1/2" pan that is well priced.
    Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and spread it evenly over the surface of the pan with your oiled fingers.
    Using your oil sprayer, lightly coat the surface of the dough with extra virgin olive oil.
1 12" Branch - fresh rosemary. Wash, remove needles and dry needles with a paper towel.
    Decorate the top of the focaccia with rosemary
    Sweet rice flour
    Dip your fingers in sweet rice flour and push all the way down all over the bread. This will create lots of indentations. Press lightly and stop just at the bottom. If you push too hard all the way down to the pizza pan, the bread will likely stick to the pizza pan in those locations.
    Spray the bread with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise approximately 1 hour or until about doubled in height and puffy.
   

Here is where you have some choice. Bake at 400° F until pale brown (internal temperature 205° F) for about 20 - 25 minutes. If you want to, you can add cherry tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, aubergine slices, olive slices, minced garlic, and/or red red or white onion rings to the unbaked bread, or you can add cheese after the bread bakes and then toast under the broiler for no longer than 2 minutes. Or you can add the cheese during the last 2 - 3 minutes of baking.

Gluten free bread is dry by nature, and this recipe is fairly thrifty on the oil. Therefore, it makes sense not to dry the bread out unless you like something more crackery.