Chilly Basil Sourdough Focaccia in Cast Iron pan
Chilly Basil Sourdough Focaccia – when the recipe was planned, I didn’t use my regular tray or cake tin, but the cast iron skillet I recently bought from a local shop. Cast iron pan heat up fast and also withhold the heat for a very long time. That is why they are perfectly suitable to bake breads. I bought this pan to make skillet cookie or brownie, but then I put it to good use as a stove top utensil and totally forgot about baking. Then when I was preparing the dough for this focaccia, I saw the skillet and decided to use it.
Chilly Basil Sourdough Focaccia with sourdough starter
You can make focaccia with either yeast or sourdough starter. The flavour definitely varies. Sourdough is more flavourful. For a long time now, I have been feeding my starters Raga and Sai, but that is the only thing I am doing. Bread baking has taken back seat because of all the preparations I am doing for my online classes. Then one fine day, I got some inspiration to bake and I took my starter out.
Using bread flour gives good strength to your dough. But it is not mandatory. Use maida if you don’t have bread flour at hand. You can also use whole wheat flour, but add vital wheat gluten so that the dough as enough strength. I prefer to add vital wheat gluten to all my whole wheat breads. You will definitely see an amazing difference by using gluten.
When it comes to focaccia, many have doubts about the texture. I get messages often asking about how it should be. We use lots of oil to make focaccia which makes the crust extremely crisp and the crumb is super soft. It is an unique bread and it is because of the shaping technique. Add generous oil in the pan/ tin/ skillet and then add the proved dough. And make indentations with your fingertips and add more oil. Those tiny crates will hold the oill and give you absolutely crisp bread.
Sourdough starter is an important ingredient when it comes to sourdough breads. So if you don’t have your starter yet, check my post on how to easily make your own starter. Click on the starter photo to read the whole process. I have also added a video for that. It will help you understand the basics. If you have any queries, let me know in comments. I will answer .
Check out my insta video on how to shape focaccia. It is a therapeutic process. Ask your kid to pitch in. They would love it for sure. You can add any type of toppings. There are elaborate garden focaccia and simple onion focaccia. I always keep my focaccia breads simple. Here I have added some sliced tinned peppers.
Bread recipes are always simple. The handling of the dough, proving time, baking technique all gives you the results. So if you are looking to master the art of bread baking, start experimenting. The climate , water, the type of flour used everything matters. It takes a while to understand, but don’t be disheartened. Keep doing it and you will master the art!
Check out my Whole wheat sourdough focaccia. Click on the image for recipe
Chilly Basil Sourdough Focaccia Recipe
- 200 gm Bread flour
- 100 gm Active Sourdough Starter
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Dried Basil
- 20 ml Oil
- 2 tbs Chilly
- In a bowl, combine bread flour, salt, basil and add starter and oil to it.
- Add enough water to form soft, slightly sticky dough.
- Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough every 15 minutes for two hours.
- Apply little oil on top of the dough, cover and set aside until double in volume.
- Once double in volume, transfer the dough to 8” cast iron pan which is greased with liberal oil.
- Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 250C.
- Add more oil on top of the dough and using the fingers, make indentations all over the dough.
- Add chilly on top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden.
- Remove from oven and serve it hot with a cup of soup.