Fermenting bread dough in the fridge for a long time can add heaps of flavour to the final loaf. It is also super convenient because there is no need to look after the dough as it is rising.
You can find a full video about the principles of cold bulk fermentation on my channel. One of the recipes I demonstrated in that video was for a focaccia. It was so good that I just had to make a dedicated video about it. This one is slightly different, but still awesome.
As with any focaccia the toppings are totally up to you, but I have added recipes for the toppings I used. It is quite garlicky, so if you love garlic, then this one is definitely for you.
The dough is prepared, then refrigerated and folded three times at 30-minute intervals and then left to cold ferment for 24 hours. You could ferment it for even longer if you wanted to. The longer it ferments the more intense the flavour.
This bread is super soft and springy, and the portion of whole wheat flour gives it a nice bite.
You will see that I used olive oil quite liberally in the video. It is up to you how much you want to add. I like it quite rich.
This recipe makes one small tray 21cm x 16cm (8.5in x 6.5in). If you would like to make more simply multiply all the ingredients.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the dough –
200g (7oz) white bread flour
50g (1.75oz) whole wheat flour
185g (6.5oz) cold water*
2.5g (0.09oz) instant dry yeast or 3g (0.1oz) active dry yeast or 7.5g (0.26oz) fresh yeast
4g (0.14oz) salt
25g (0.9oz) olive oil
*To learn more about dough temperature control click here.
The flour I use has a protein content of 13%. If your flour is weaker, then you may need to lower the hydration.
If you are using active dry yeast, then you may need to let it sit in the water for 10 minutes before adding the other ingredients or else it could take a lot longer to raise the dough.
For the roasted peppers –
2 bell peppers, cut into chunks
Salt & pepper
For the roasted garlic –
1 bulb of garlic, top sliced off *see video
For the pesto –
1 garlic clove
Handful of basil leaves
30g (1oz) Olive oil
20g (0.7oz) Parmesan
Pesto should also have pine nuts, but I did not have any. It’s still good without them.
The amount of parmesan and oil is up to you, so adjust to your liking.
- Make the toppings.
- Mix the peppers with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 220C (430F) fan off for 20 minutes or until browned and softened.
- Pour a little bit of oil on the garlic, season with salt. Wrap up in foil and roast at 160C (320F) fan off for 1 hour.
- Make the pesto by grinding all ingredients to a paste. You can use a food processor but be careful not to run it for too long or the basil will warm up and turn brown.
- Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the water, yeast, and salt. Mix well to dissolve the salt and hydrate the yeast. Add the whole wheat flour and the white flour. Mix to a dough.
- Tip the dough out on the table and knead using the slap & fold method for around 6 minutes. *Desired dough temperature 24C (75F). If your dough is cooler, then leave it out for 30 minutes before refrigerating. If it is warmer, then shorten the intervals between folds to cool it down sooner.
- Pour the olive oil in a bowl and roll the dough around in it to coat the whole surface. You can give it a light fold at this point. Place the dough in the fridge.
- Give it three folds at 30-minute intervals.
- After the final fold, place the dough in the fridge and leave it to ferment for 24 hours. You can take it out sooner or leave it in longer.
- When you are ready take the dough out and shape it into a tight ball. If it tears a bit that is ok. Place it in an oiled tray and rub some oil on the dough.
- Final proof will take around 3 hours. If your kitchen is warm, it will take less time and if it is cool then it may take longer. *During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 230C (445F) fan off.
- Stud the dough with the toppings. Press them in well, so that you feel your fingers touch the tray. Pour on some more olive oil if you like and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely browned all over.
This is best enjoyed fresh, so leave it to cool down just a bit and tuck in!
Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.
Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.
Watch the video here