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Olive and Rosemary Focaccia


I’ve been messing about with spelt flour as a wheat replacement for a couple of years. I am not coeliac, nor do I have gluten intolerance, my gut simply cannot break down the short chain carbohydrates found in wheat. Spelt is a digestible alternative.

At first  I hoped to be able to simply substitute wheat flour with spelt flour, but I found that the spelt flour I was buying was very coarse and mealy. The white spelt very closely resembled wholemeal wheat flour. At one point I even sifted out the bran, it made up about one quarter of the bulk. Anyway, I shopped around, tried different suppliers, bought from various sources online, but it was all fairly similar. In the midst of all this I was endeavouring to master baking sourdough bread. To say my loaves were heavy is an understatement. In the end I conceded defeat, simply eliminated wheat from my diet and for the past 12 months I’ve wisely considered before using spelt flour in anything.

I ran all my flour stocks out before we relocated to Brisbane. After my first trip to the supermarket while I was refilling my storage containers I was surprised how fine the “white” spelt flour looked. I rubbed it between my fingers, it was silky smooth. I added a few drops of water to a spoon full and it stayed white. It’s totally different flour what I was accustomed to buying. Out of curiosity next I opened the bag of wholemeal spelt flour. It was exactly as I expected the more refined flour to be.

So I baked a fabulous focaccia.

Highly processed grains only make up a small part of my diet, they are rarely my first choice, but sometimes, just sometimes, when I’m craving bread or pastry, I now have a workable choice.

Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

500g white spelt flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

300 mls warm water

2 tablespoon olive oil

60g pitted black olives, roughly chopped

2 large sprigs of rosemary, roughly chopped

extra virgin olive oil

Combine the flour, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre, add the water and oil then mix to a sticky dough.

Flour the bench, tip the dough onto the flour and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Alternatively knead the dough in mixer with a dough hook.

Oil a bowl, turn the dough in the oil, cover tightly with plastic and set aside until the dough doubles in bulk.

Knock down the dough, scatter the olives and most of the rosemary over the dough then knead until they are evenly distributed.

Oil an oven tray, place the dough on the tray then use your knuckles to spread the dough until it’s about 2cm thick. There should be indentations all over the surface.

Scatter over the remaining rosemary.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough doubles in size again.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Discard the plastic cover, put the try in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 200C.

Reduce the heat to 180C and continue baking until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped.

Transfer to a cooling wire and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

21 comments on “Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

  1. Francesca
    November 19, 2015

    Sandra, your focaccia looks divine! I love the combination of olive and rosemary and I can tell the texture is just perfect!

    Like

  2. dunelight
    November 19, 2015

    Spelt is a gift. I am gluten intolerant. I make spelt egg noodles for homemade chicken and noodles..it is so good. So far my spelt cookies are pretty gross. Needs more work. This sounds marvelous!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 19, 2015

      Yes, spelt is a gift if you have a sensitivity to wheat, haven’t tried to make noodles with it…..yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gather and Graze
    November 17, 2015

    A beautiful focaccia loaf Sandra… making me feel extremely peckish at this time of the afternoon! 😉

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 17, 2015

      Thanks, I keep forgetting we’re an hour (and 10 years) behind the rest of the east coast..

      Like

  4. Debi @ My Kitchen Witch
    November 16, 2015

    So glad you found a good, fine white spelt. Amazing how suppliers differ. The only spelt flour I could get (easily) in Yorkshire was the coarse ground whole wheat type. Finding any at all here in Greece is difficult, but I am told that it goes by its German name – dinkel – so I have hopes of eventually tracking it down. Anyway – great looking focaccia, and spectacular photography, too.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 16, 2015

      I’m sure you’re having much more difficulty than I am sourcing ingredients purely and simply because of language. There doesn’t seem to be the tight communities of European immigrants here, so it’s much more difficult to find specialty items, although Asian ingredients are easily procured. I’m yet to see radicchio and kohlrabi, two of my favourite salad veg. It was fantastic spotting the fine spelt flour, trying rough puff this week to see how it goes. Thanks for the kind words re the photo.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. chef mimi
    November 15, 2015

    Looks absolutely beautiful and tasty!

    Like

  6. Conor Bofin
    November 13, 2015

    My sister makes a lovely focaccia. Rosemary and sea salt. Delicious.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 13, 2015

      Rosemary and sea salt are another of my favourite combos for focaccia Conor, wish there was some for breakfast…

      Like

  7. White House Red Door
    November 13, 2015

    You’ve and the other commenters have inspired me! I have baked with all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, corn meal and corn flour. Brownies made with chestnut flour sound amazing, as does the idea of experimenting with spelt and farro flours. Thank you!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 13, 2015

      Non wheat flours can be tricky because of the lack of gluten, but each has unique characteristics and flavour. Spelt is not gluten free but has a better tolerated form of gluten. It absorbs more water than wheat. Good luck, I think you’ll enjoy the difference

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ChgoJohn
    November 13, 2015

    This looks delicious and reminds me of our spianata. We do not include olives but we do use sliced onion. Never used spelt flour. Maybe it’s time I did, eh?

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 13, 2015

      Thanks John, nice to see you again, onions sound good too…

      Like

  9. Lisa @ cheergerm
    November 12, 2015

    This looks great Mrs R. I have quite liked the spelt flour we got from the co-op but have been pretty darned happy with the woolies brand, I use the wholmeal quite a bit. If only I could find chestnut flour.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 13, 2015

      You need an Italian specialty shop for chestnut flour, if I was still in Melbourne I’d send you some. Haven’t seen it in Brissy yet…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa @ cheergerm
        November 13, 2015

        You are so lovely. Next time I am in Leichardt I will have a better look, thanks for the tip! Thomas Dux used to have it but not anymore. Good luck with finding some up there!

        Like

  10. Sabiscuit
    November 12, 2015

    I could totally smell that from over here. That rosemary is unreal. I love rosemary. I am so jealous of bread eaters right now. x

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      November 13, 2015

      I know what you mean, it’s been the hardest food to give up. Spelt focaccia goes a little way to easing the pain. Yes, the rosemary is gorgeous, my favourite herb

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Debra Kolkka
    November 12, 2015

    I love making bread. I will definitely try the spelt flour. In Italy I have used lots of different flours for bread and pasta, including chestnut flour. Spelt and farro are grown in our area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ladyredspecs
      November 12, 2015

      There seems to be many grades of refinement when it comes to spelt flour Debra. Woolworths brand was a very pleasant surprise. A couple of years ago I messed around with sourdough trying to perfect a 100% spelt loaf and gave up after repeatedly producing bricks. I have many different flours in my pantry too, my favourite brownie is made with chestnut flour. I might be looking for help with stockists for such specialty ingredients when my supply runs out

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 12, 2015 by in Baking, FODMAP diet, Food, Lactose Free, Savoury Baking, Snacks and tagged , , , , .
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