The Table Bay Hotel has shared its sourdough focaccia bread recipe with the CapeTowner, including its step-by-step guide on how to make an “easy-to-grow” sourdough starter.
“We believe that everyone should dabble in the art of bread making, which like any hobby is good for the soul. The result of course is a delectable treat to be shared with your family. Eat it with butter, alongside a meal or with fresh toppings or dips,” says The Table Bay’s executive chef Keshan Ramburan.
“First off, you need to ‘grow’ your own sourdough starter. Since wild yeast is present in all flour, the easiest way to make a starter is simply by combining flour and water and letting it sit for several days. Making sourdough starter takes about five days but it can take longer depending on the conditions in your kitchen. Each day you ‘feed’ the starter with equal amounts of fresh flour and water.”
Mr Ramburan says as the wild yeast grows stronger, the starter will become more frothy and sour-smelling.
“As long as you see bubbles and signs of yeast activity, continue feeding it regularly.”
Sourdough starter recipe:
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup water
Combine flour and water and place in a glass or plastic container (not metal). Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel secured with a rubber band.
Place the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature of 20 to 23 degrees Celsius (like the top of the refrigerator) and allow it to sit for 24 hours.
Continue to feed your starter every day for at least five days to ensure that it stays strong.
Sourdough focaccia recipe:
You will need:
100g active sourdough starter
10g sea salt plus extra for toppings
512g bread flour
45ml olive oil plus extra to coat
Toppings: cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary
Mix the sourdough starter, water, salt and flour together. Stretch and fold the dough until the gluten is developed. Place into a bowl, and coat the top with olive oil. Lightly cover, and rest the dough at room temperature for up to 18 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Use your hands to deflate the dough. Drizzle the 45ml olive oil over the dough. Flatten the dough on the countertop. Pull from the sides and press the dough into the centre to tighten. Turn the dough over so that the seam side faces down. Line a 22x33cm baking pan with oil. Place the dough into the centre of the pan. Coat the top of the dough with olive oil, lightly cover and leave at room temperature for about five to six hours.
Preheat the oven to 218 degrees C. Coat your hands with oil and gently press into the dough to dimple and stretch it to fit the pan. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and chosen toppings. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a golden colour. Transfer to cooling rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.