Olive Semolina Focaccia Loaves

I’m out of sandwich bread and there was the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade between me and grocery store. It was make my own time. I didn’t want to make just a plain white loaf of bread, though.

Earlier this week, I broke one of my old fashioned mason jars I was using for storage and the next size I had available was just slightly too small for a new bag of semolina flour I had bought. Luckily, I had a recipe for focaccia that uses 1/2 cup, so it was a win-win.

Instead of making a sheet sized loaf, I divided the dough into eight pieces. I pressed them into the corners to form squares about the size of sandwich bread.

I started my bread making early in the day so I had a lovely ham sandwich on olive focaccia for lunch and then a turkey on focaccia for dinner.

Olive Semolina Focaccia Loaves

Starter
1 cup​ all purpose flour
¼ cup​ semolina flour
½ teaspoon ​kosher salt
2 ¼ teaspoon ​active dry yeast
1 cup​ lukewarm water

Dough
3 cups​ all purpose flour
¼ cup​ semolina flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons dry non-fat dry milk powder
1 cup ​lukewarm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Kalamata olives, chopped plus 8 olives sliced into four pieces each
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
1 teaspoon salt flakes (I used Maldon)

Mix together the starter ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Let rise for 1 hour.

Put the 3 cups of flour, semolina, salt and dry milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine. Pour the water, oil, and starter in the mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add in chopped olives.

When the dough comes together (add up to 1/2 cup additional all purpose flour if necessary), switch to a dough hook and let the machine knead for 5-10 minutes. The mixing can be done by hand as well.

Form into a ball and place into a large, well oiled bowl. Spin the dough to coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Coat the bottom and sides of a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Divide the dough into 6 or 8 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and then flatten into loaves – I cheat by using the corner of the sheet pan to help form them into sandwich size squares. Cover the sheet tray with plastic wrap and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place four olive pieces on top of each of the loaves. Using your fingers make indents all over the dough disks, pressing in some of the olives. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons water until emulsified. Brush the top of the focaccia with the oil and water mixture. Scatter with salt flakes.

Place in the 400 degree F pre heated oven. The focaccia will take 30-40 minutes to bake. Lift an edge to check that the bottom is golden brown, like the top.

Let cool completely. Slice the loaves in half for perfect sandwiches.

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