I’m allllll about the simple lately. Downsizing. Getting rid of stuff. Minimizing. I think moving for the third time within a 6 month time span does that to a person…
So, don’t throw your shit in my (proverbial) backyard…but, you may show up to my apartment with freshly baked goods and/or coffee. Edible material goods acceptable, since they are a) easily stored away in my belly, and b) easy to re-generate.
What is more….we are in the first month of winter…which means we are also wading our way through soup season. Ultimately, that leads us to wanting something carb-y and sponge-y to soak up our soup while shoveling spoonfuls of hot, nourishing goodness into our faces.
Enter: this simple spelt focaccia. Too lazy to go out and buy bread? This one is for you. Have a bunch of herbs awaiting their fate in the crisper? Perfect application. Bought too much spelt flour last weekend? Done.
Requiring just 1 bowl, 5 ingredients (plus any add-ins you choose), and about 10 minutes of active time (minus eating), you really have no excuse to not try this. It also freezes really well, with a quick thaw in the toaster or in a warm oven being your ticket to warm, carbohydrate goodness.
Bonus: you can mix the dough up sans mixer (and I know you have at least one large bowl and a wooden spoon!), and let it sit either for a few hours at room temperature, OR you can mix this up one day, cover it, and let it sit in the fridge overnight for even better flavor. It is up to you. And how fabulous is that?
Allow yourself to be creative with what you wish to mix in or top this simple bread with. Some ideas are:
- Freshly chopped herbs, like thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley and dill
- Toasted walnuts
- Whole or chopped olives
- Shreds of parmesan cheese, or hunks of goat cheese
- Roasted or sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped
- Roasted red peppers
- Caramelized onions
- Slices or minced fresh garlic, or poke cloves of roasted garlic into the top of the dough pre-bake
- Sea salt (I love the large flakes of Maldon on top of this baked bread!), cracked black pepper
Sooo…there you go. You can make your own bread, and eat it, too!
Simple Spelt Focaccia // plant-based; vegan; soy-free; nut-free option (just don’t put nuts as an add-in)// Makes one roughly 9″ by 13″ free-form focaccia //
- 450g or 4 cups spelt flour (I typically use whole spelt flour for the nutty flavor and hearty texture, but white spelt works, too)
- 7g or 1 packet (1 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
- 425 mL (or 425g) water (this is roughly scant 1 3/4 cups), 125 mL (3/4 cup) being freshly boiled and 300 mL (1 cup) being freshly boiled, or just use warm water (105F to 110F)
- 2 TB olive oil, plus a little more for greasing your hands when handling the dough
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 TB honey, maple syrup, agave OR sugar
- Optional add-ins as desired
1. In a large bowl, add the hot and cold waters (the aim is to get to warm water that is ideal for “proving” your yeast is viable), the liquid sweetener or cane sugar, and yeast. Mix with a fork or whisk to combine. Allow to proof for 10 minutes until bubbly and foamy. If the mixture is not bubbly after this time, start-over with fresh yeast.
2. Sift the spelt flour and sea salt into the same bowl. Add the olive oil. Mix with the same mixing tool you used to stir the yeast mixture, or use a large wooden spoon to stir the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes to incorporate everything. The mixture will be a bit sticky and moist, but this makes for a spongey, tender bread. This would now be the time to fold in any add-ins you desire if you plan on baking the focaccia the same day. Take care to not over-mix any delicate things, like goat cheese, or simply plan to poke/plop them on top of the focaccia right before baking (see step 4).
3. Allow the mixture to sit, covered, until doubled, usually about 1 hour in a moderately warm kitchen. Alternatively, you can cover the bowl with a more air-resistant lid like plastic wrap or a loose fitting lid, and allow the dough to rise overnight in the fridge.
4. When ready to bake, flour a baking sheet with spelt. You could also use a parchment lined-sheet or silpat-lined sheet, but also sprinkle with spelt. Pour the dough onto the sheet, and using oiled hands, gently coax the dough into a free-form shape that is roughly 9″ x 13″. Sprinkle with additional add-ins or delicate mix-ins, gently poking them into the surface to adhere to the dough while baking. Preheat the oven to 375F, and allow the focaccia to rise once more as the oven preheats, usually 20-30 minutes. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the focaccia has baked to form a crisp crust on the top and bottom (you can check this by sliding a thin spatula under the focaccia). Allow to cool completely, and cut into desired sizes and shapes. Store extra focaccia in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or freezer for up to 1 month.
Herbs! I used what I had around: fresh thyme and rosemary.
Is as that. Rustic, sticky, flavorful and flexible. But most importantly, so very tasty!
Bake, bake, bake…if you’re feeling fancy and are planning on eating the whole damn thing in one sitting (no judgement!), you could brush on some olive oil or even some garlic-infused olive oil. The options are endless, and the road always leads to tasty, tasty carbohydrates…so you cannot lose!