During Year 1 of Bethesdabakers Professional the weekly format was a set number of regular breads – Pain de Campagne, Mick’s Classic Sourdough, Wholemeal Wheat, Wholemeal Spelt, Pain de Seigle sur Levain, Multigrain, 5 Seed, Baguette – plus a Special which changed every week.
At the start of Year 2 the best thing I did was to change this. So Spelt got the boot (probable just my lack of skill but I hated the stuff – more to the point it didn’t sell), the main Special continued but in came a weekly flatbread and, instead of churning out the Seigle every time, a weekly rye.
The flatbreads have been great. Space-wise, (a crucial factor in the smallest of micro-bakeries) I bake them on pizza tins which can be stacked 11 high on a wire stand plus, time-wise, proving can be pretty flexible. Not only that, they sell well and at a good price. On top of which devising (and stealing) new flavour combinations stops the brain from rotting.
So far this year we’ve done:
Santa Fe Corn Bread
Black Olive & Caramelised Focaccia
Apricot & Almond Fougasse
Red Grape & Fennel Seed Focaccia
Dewi Sant (Leek & Chile) Focaccia
Curry & Cardamom Flatbread
Big G’s Cherry Tomato Focaccia
Pear & Rosemary Focaccia
But this week was the best. Sometimes you make something so good it’s like it has nothing to do with you – its qualities are already there, fully formed and you just act as midwife.
Yr Ardd Fadarch Focaccia – focaccia made with local grown shiitake mushrooms.
I finally pinned down Cynan Jones at the Conwy Feast food festival a couple of weeks ago. It was so crowded he couldn’t escape – he was hedged in by the punters behind his stall. Cynan grows shiitake (and other mushrooms) in a container a few mountains from us in Beddgelert. Check out his new website –
He kindly donated samples of fresh and dried shiitakes – I made up the prototype focaccia.
On Tuesday 1 kilo of fresh & 325g of dried shiitakes arrived by courier (only two quid for delivery!) and I guarantee that by now my customers will not have a crumb left for the birdies.
4 thoughts on “Yr Ardd Fadarch Focaccia”
Mick, as you know devising flavoured foccacia is a lot more difficult than devising new pizza combinations, but what is probably more difficult is trying to tell people that a foccacia is not a pizza, nor, when using certain ingredients, is it a cake. You seem to have mastered this black art very well, and all power to you for this masterly stroke.
Since I have rather limited patience, and perseverance I’ve taken a slightly different approach, in emphasising that my products are ‘breads’ as opposed to anything else. I’ve taken to finding and using unusual bakeable objects as moulds/bakeware etc. One method is to line old Brie cartons, whether quarter, full round or square (box with matting?) type, with baking parchment, press in the foccacia dough, and additional ingredients let it rise, then bake the whole thing in the oven. My success though, is limited by the fact that I just cant get enough brie boxes. So when looking around for an alternate, I recently got some weaved poplar wood strip baskets, originally holding 1 Kg of French pink fir apple potatoes. Again I lined and filled with a dough, preferably flavoured like onion or chive & black onion seeds, or potato & rosemary, or bay & onion, then proved/baked it as it was. With my patented strip label, stapled diagonally across, blink and they’re gone! The trouble now is that these baskets are even harder to find, so I’ve been looking for some ‘recycled’ bakeware. Since I go and buy fruit/veg etc. at New covent garden market each week, I’ve discovered certain wooden product cases, can hold a 4-5Kg dough, and fit in my domestic oven, to produce a very impressive party piece. Now all I need do is find ways to use them, parties/social events is good, as they make a good centrepiece and get people interested/animated and even talking about bread. My next plan is to bake 2-3 of these at about 4Kg each, and suggest my local deli put them on the counter and offer sandwiches in freshly cut slices of each loaf.
Still rather find sources for the baskets and brie boxes though!
You told me this at Rick’s and I had totally forgotten about it. I’m sure you can buy (if that’s not a rude word) similar thin wood containers from some bakers suppliers – probably French or German. Have to have a look.
I did try it with bread in France a couple of years back – I’ll try and find the pix.
I am totally in your debt for the olive oil/water emulsion spponed onto the focaccia tops.
Oh yes!, there is a properly commercial product going by the name of “panibois” which I have to admit is a very admirable, creative and enterprising use of waste packaging, originating from RUNGIS, the Parisian equivalent of NCG. Just Google for panibois! Mind you, for a decent sized loaf, served in one of their baskets, you’ll need to add some 50-70 p per loaf, to” cover packaging ”
That’s why I like to be different.
b.t.w u around @ home over the hols? Might see if we can pop in for an hour or so if passing
What a little mine of information you are!
Not going anywhere this Noel – to many cats (other peoples that is) to feed.