Can you pack in anything more wholesome and healthy than a 100% sprouted wheat focaccia? In the last few months, my focus has been baking with sprouted wheat flour from King Arthur Flour. My latest experiment is the sprouted wheat focaccia.
Not all wheat flours are created equal. Well, there are lot of concerns and warnings about wheat, gluten, grains and carbohydrates. Sprouted wheat flour gets around that by germinating the grains and seeds and enhances their nutritional benefits. In addition, sprouting softens the bran and reduces its phytic acid. The resulting sprouted flour is easy to digest and tastes sweeter. That’s quite a breakthrough.
From my experience baking the sprouted wheat focaccia and other breads, I can say that sprouted flour are superior to non-sprouted flour. Here is a summary of their benefits:
- First, sprouted flour is higher in nutrients.
- The release of natural sugars in the process of sprouting improves its flavor.
- Natural enzyme activity triggered by germinating the grains is favorable to dough performance.
- Sprouted grains do not need pre-ferment or extended fermentation for flavor development.
- Lastly, anecdotal evidence shows that people who are sensitive to wheat may tolerate sprouted wheat.
With that in mind, I’ve been making breads, and pizzas lately, and now the sprouted wheat focaccia, with good results. Among the sprouted wheat baking, the sprouted struan bread is a real standout. The recipe comes from Bread Revolution by Peter Reinhart. Give that a try too.
What makes this sprouted focaccia work? Basically, the wet and sticky dough, the long fermentation (usually overnight) and a very hot oven.
Instead of one big focaccia, I decided to divide the dough into two. Subsequently, I put one in a round pan. The other went into a bowl and into the refrigerator for later use. After shaping and dimpling, it’s just waiting. The round pan was proofed for about an hour on the kitchen counter. Long fermentation is not necessary for sprouted wheat. It’s optional.
Prior to baking, I added chopped olives, more olive oil and some dry herbs on top. Pimpled the dough some more. Then it went into a preheated oven at 450°F. Finally, the focaccia was done when it achieved a nice golden brown after half an hour in the oven.
Sprouted Wheat FocacciaPrint Recipe
- 454g sprouted whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 454g lukewarm water
- about 227g of your favorite dried fruits (not used)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (more for dimpling)
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 1 minute. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then continue mixing on medium speed for another 2 minutes. This is a very wet, limp dough, so don't be concerned if it looks like it's not holding together.
Transfer the dough to a well-greased work surface and stretch and fold it over onto itself once — a dough scraper works well for this. Cover the dough with a large bowl and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Repeat the stretch and fold process three more times, so that you've kneaded the dough a total of four times.
Generously grease a large, rimmed baking sheet, and transfer the dough to it. Drizzle some olive oil onto the dough and stretch it as far as you can before it starts to spring back. Cover the pan and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
Drizzle a little more olive oil over the dough, then stretch it out to the edges of the pan, leaving finger dimples as you go.
Cover the pan again and let the dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until it comes to the top of the pan. While the focaccia is rising, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Bake the focaccia for 20 to 30 minutes, until it's golden brown on both top and bottom.
Remove the focaccia from the oven and slide it out onto a cutting board to serve.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour and Peter Reinhart's Bread Revolution recipes http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sprouted-whole-wheat-and-fruit-focaccia-recipe