Buckwheat has a pretty intense taste—sort of like dark roasted coffee and cinnamon. It adds great flavor to focaccia. We had some fun with this dough and shaped it into sticks (stecche) instead of squares. But you could just as easily press the dough into a big square or oval on the baking sheet. Another fun thing to try: use chestnut flour instead of buckwheat for a richer, nuttier taste.
MAKES 2 STECCHE, EACH ABOUT 1 1/2 FEET LONG
AND 2 TO 3 INCHES WIDE (1/2 METER BY 5 TO 7 CM)
You Will Need
TO MIX AND KNEAD: Put everything but the sea salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, and mix on medium speed for 8 minutes. Add the sea salt and mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should look smoother and feel somewhat resilient when poked.
TO FERMENT: Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough ferment at room temperature (about 70°F/21°C) until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
TO SHAPE AND FERMENT AGAIN: Line a half-sheet pan (18 by 13 inches/45 by 33 cm) with parchment paper. Use a dough scraper to scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust the top with flour and divide the dough in half with a bench knife. Gently pull and stretch each piece to shape it into a long oval stick about 12 to
15 inches long by 2 to 3 inches wide (30 to 38 by 5 to 7 cm). Transfer the sticks to the parchment, evenly spaced apart. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment again at room temperature until doubled in size again, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
TO BAKE: Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Rub some oil all over the sticks, re-shaping them into nice, plump sticks if necessary, and season them with flake salt and pepper. Bake until firm and light brown, about 20 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool.
If you have more time, you can ferment the shaped stecche in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours instead of at room tem- perature for 1 1/2 hours.
To top the stecche, poke deep dimples in the dough before baking it. Press your fingers almost all the way to the bot- tom of the dough so that your toppings (as shown in photo opposite) will not fall off when baked and the dough puffs up. Tomatoes and garlic scapes make a nice, minimal topping. Just cut 6 to 8 cherry tomatoes in half and cut
1 garlic scape (or 1 scallion) into 1/2-inch to 1-inch (1.3 to
2.5 cm) pieces. Press the tomatoes and garlic scapes deep into the dimples in the dough. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with flake salt and pepper before baking. You could also top these with sliced pan-roasted leeks (or almost any species of Allium), Gaeta olives, fresh halved grapes, and whatever fresh herbs you like.