Wheat free but flavour full
I really liked watching this Week 8’s episode of Bake Off, as I know very little about and have hardly any experience of eating “free from” foods. I immediately got excited about what I would bake as it would be a completely new challenge to me. Desperate to have another play with bread dough, I decided to make Beca’s amazing Spelt Flour, Potato and Rosemary Focaccia! Fingers crossed I could pull it off!
I am proud to say- I blooming well did!! My boyfriend actually said its one of the nicest things I’ve ever made which I was super thrilled about! It was relatively simple to make, amazingly tasty, and looks fantastic, so would be great to take to someone’s house, or serve at a dinner party!
The flavour of the fresh rosemary is amazing, and makes the bread taste really fresh. It also adds visual interest, dotted through the dough, and gives bursts of colour on top. The gorgonzola cheese topping adds another dimension of flavour, which adds a richness and strength which really complements the rosemary. Thanks for the fab recipe Beca!
I was nervous about the bake at first, unsure whether I’d cooked it long enough. I had real trouble finding spelt flour (trying 3 different supermarkets before I tracked it down!) And then could only get wholegrain rather than white as Beca’s recipe states. This meant the dough was already a light brown colour, so I was wary of mistaking this as browned from cooking, and either over or under baking it. When I did take it out the oven it was quite soft, and after leaving it to cool and firm up, and I had to cut it out of my tin (I used a disposable foil one!) to prevent it from breaking. It was very soft underneath still, and having never made focaccia before, or used spelt flour, I wasn’t sure if this was right! It was baked all the way through though, and had the irregular air bubbles Mr Hollywood always looks for when judging focaccia on the show! It also passed the all important Hollywood Thumb Test, and sprang back into shape once pushed, rather than turn back into dough. Result! I will definitely be making this again!
So here’s how to make your own! I used Beca’s recipe, which can be found here, but I’ve written it out below with pictures too!
- 380g Maris Piper potatoes (peeled and chopped = 300g)
- 300g Spelt flour
- 1 tsp Dried-active yeast
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Caster sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh Rosemary – chopped (plus 4 – 5 sprigs for the topping)
- 3 – 4 tbsp Olive oil (plus extra for kneading)
- 15 – 20 baby new potatoes (though I only used 8)
- 100 – 150g Gorgonzola cheese
- Sea salt to taste
1. Boil the potatoes then leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes, but retain 130ml of the cooking water. Pop the potatoes back in the saucepan to dry out.
3. Mix the flour, yeast, salt sugar and chopped rosemary in a bowl.
4. Mash the potatoes with the olive oil and then mix into the flour mixture.
5. Slowly add the reserved potato cooking water to the mix so that it comes together to form a dough.
6. Knead the dough until it is smooth (about 10 minutes) and then put into a lightly oiled bowl.
7. Cover the bowl with lightly oiled cling film and leave it to prove for an hour. (I love this bit! So exciting to see how much it grows 🙂
8. Whilst the dough is proving, clean, halve and cook the new potatoes until they are par-boiled.
9. Pre-heat the oven to 220oC / Gas Mark 7 and grease a baking tin.
10. Once the dough has proved, tip it into the greased baking tin. Gently ease it to fill to the edges of the tin with your fingers. Do so slowly, over the course of half and hour.
11. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and top with the new potatoes, crumble over the gorgonzola, place the rosemary and sprinkle the sea salt over the top.
12. Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown. Bring out and cool and firm up in the tin for 5 – 10 mins then turn out onto a rack to cool (if you can wait before eating….! 🙂