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Sep 25, 2009 04:50 AM

Too much yeast in this focaccia?

i've made this focaccia (supposedly from Peter Reinhart but I'm not convinced), usually mixing it in the morning and baking in the afternoon. It's pretty good but I want a longer rise overnight. It doubles at room temperature in two hours, I think because it uses so much instant yeast (1 packet). If I'm doing it overnight, should I use a small amount of active yeast instead, maybe 1/2 tsp active?)? Or should I use another recipe?

I was going to do it w/ his herb oil from a different recipe.

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  1. the yeast to flour ratio is on the low side, so it doesn't seem like a lot to me. how about letting it rise overnight in the fridge? what is it you don't like about the finished product?

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I want to do the long rise overnight. Usually, I make the recipe for dinner and it takes two hours to double at room temperature so I start early afternoon. I need it to cool by lunch time so want to rise overnight but it seemed like a lot of yeast for an overnight rise, especially with sugar in the recipe. It makes a good focaccia and is easy to do--I was hoping for an even better texture/flavor with the longer rise.

    2. The amount of yeast is a *tad* on the high side, but you have to remember that putting that dough in the fridge will significantly retard the yeast from rising (which is the whole point). I will say that dough risen overnight in the fridge does definitely taste better.

      I'd try the recipe just as it is to start with.

      Now this is all assuming that when you say rise overnight, you mean in the fridge. If you're just leaving it out on the counter, it's going to overrise, make a mess on your counter, and taste bland. Do it in the fridge.

      1. The original recipe that you posted requires you to let it rise overnight in the fridge, not starting in the morning and baking inthe afternoon. It IS from Peter Reinhart- because it's the exact same recipe he has in his "Breadbaker's Apprentice" on my bookshelf. It is not too much yeast... In the book he goes into a lot of detail as to why letting the dough rise in the fridge overnight (and then for at least 2h out of the fridge after) is necessary and why he uses the instant yeast. Perhaps follow the recipe exactly the first time? It is a fantastic focaccia recipe- I've tried others and this is by far the best and just like what I had in Italy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: QSheba

          I've made it several times, as is. I like it because I don't HAVE to plan ahead the night before if I want focaccia the same day and it is good with the two hour rise outside, though I'm sure better overnight. The recipe in Crust and Crumb starts w/ a sponge overnight and is much more time consuming so I thought this was simple for a Peter Reinhart recipe.

        2. I don't agree that the recipe you're using is from the Bread Baker's Apprentice, unless the one I have was somehow edited. But that's beside the point. The recipe appears to be sound and there's no reason why you can't follow it precisely, pop it into the refrigerator (sans toppings and covered) and remove it to the counter a couple of hours before you intend to load it into the oven. If you don't have instant yeast (Mr. Reinhart seems to like using that stuff, I'm an active dry yeast fan) you can use about 7 - 8 tsp. of proofed active dry yeast as an equivalent to the amount specified in the formula for instant yeast.

          5 Replies
          1. re: todao

            I have both kinds of yeast but also prefer the active dry yeast (and also have a 3 pound bag in the freezer so use it every chance I get since instant is so much more). I don't remember Peter Reinhart using sugar in his doughs like this which is why I wasn't sure it was his. Thanks--that is a lot more yeast than I would have thought to use.

            1. re: todao

              I have my Breadbaker's Apprentice out, open to page 159. It calls for .22 oz (same as a packet) of instant yeast and doesn't have a starter. Many of his other breads start with a sponge in BBA, I'm not familiar with Crust and Crumb, so he could have used a different recipe there. I haven't even flipped through it- what's the focus of C&C? I tried his focaccia recipe in Fine Cooking and went out and bought BBA, so that's pretty much the extent of my experience with him. :)

              1. re: QSheba

                Thanks, so his recipe does use sugar in BBA. I haven't made the focaccia from C&C but it was a three day process, starting with the sponge. It seemed too time consuming, especially since this recipe gave such good results anyway. I don't know at C&C differs from BBA in intent but C&C was very informative. BBA is on the list of books I want.

              2. re: todao

                uh oh, my dough is in the fridge already and I didn't proof the active dry yeast... i got the Red Star Active Dry instead of the Fleshman instant, this thing is doomed... isn't it.

                1. re: bettyklang

                  No, it'll be fine. If it hasn't risen, just let it go longer or bring it to a warmer place. The less yeast, the longer the rise needed but the better the bread.

              3. This recipe, btw, is the Reinhart's recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice. It doesn't, as I suspected, have sugar. The technique is slightly different. But, it's a decent focaccia recipe if you want to bake the same day.