Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sunflower Pull-apart Focaccia (THB)

I'm sorry if I have confused you or being too critical with this bake...

If you can't see any sunflower seeds in this post, you are right because this is a sunflower pull-apart Focaccia but with NO sunflower seeds! Sorry if I have confused you with all these terminology. 
This cheerful-looking focaccia that I'm baking is the recipe chosen by Mich from Piece of Cake being our 31sth The Home Bakers (THB) bake. THB is an baking event organised by my friend, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. With a group of gorgeous ladies, we are baking all recipes from the book, "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas until every recipe from this book has been baked.

The original recipe sounds less confusing as it suggests shaping the focaccia into sunflower shape and coats the dough with sunflower seeds but mine is baked in sunflower shape only. Why no sunflower seeds? I like sunflower seeds but like pine nuts slightly more... and have decided to bake this bread with pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds.

Sorry again if I might sound a little critical here... To us, this bread is just ok to eat. We were disappointed when we had our first bite as we were expecting a crusty spongy bread but this one is a little too tough for us. Taste-wise; the bread is just plain doughy. Maybe the use of chestnut flour as suggested by the recipe can enhance the flavour of this bread but I cannot find any chestnut flour in our local market, supermarkets or any health stores.

Although shaping this bread to sunflower shape was fun for me, shaping with this sticky sloppy dough is actually not as easy as you would imagine. I tried to do what the recipe suggests, coating my fingers with olive oil but I must say that flour seem to work better for me. Overall, I would say... Although this focaccia looks cheerful, it is not exactly cheerful to bake and eat... Washing up all these sticky dough and sticky fingers is definitely not a cheerful thing to do...

Cheerful sunflower pull-apart focaccia???
The nice ingredients that I used to bake this bread
Warning: Dough is very sticky and so make you floured your tabletop and rolling pin.
This part of the bake is fun... Shaping the bread to a giant sunflower!
I thought the bread looks good...
... smells good ...
... but tastes just ok for us

Being the rule of this event, only the host of the chosen bake can post the recipe in her blog post. Please visit Mich from Piece of Cake for the detailed recipe of this bake.

Please check out my THB friends who have baked this recipe as they might have a more positive experience than me...

And, here are the notes and modifications that I made for my bake.

My ingredients list
2 tsp instant dry yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp extra olive oil plus more for brushing
490 plain flour (I used a combination of 400g bread flour and 90g of Italian OO flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
40g pine nuts

Modifications that I have made from the original:

  • In order to follow the unique shaping instruction, I can't reduce anything samller and decided to bake the full amount of the recipe.
  • The recipe says that it can use honey or sugar but I chose using honey.
  • The recipe says that it can use aniseed or fresh rosemary but I chose using rosemary.
  • Instead of using sunflower seeds, I have replaced it with pine nuts. As instructed in the recipe, I brushed my bread with extra olive oil and sprinkle with pine nuts before final proving. After baking, the pine nuts doesn't seem to stay well onto the bread as they slide off the surfaces when each section of bread was pulled off to serve... Disappointing!
  • I didn't add olives or red grapes.
  • Instead of kneading by hand or using an electric mixer, I've placed all ingredients (except for the nuts) into my bread maker and use "dough setting"to knead and prove the dough for 1 1/2 hr.
  • The bread were baked at 200°C fan forced for 20 min.
Happy Baking


  1. Hi Zoe! Appreciate the honest commentary. Not confusing at all :)

  2. Hi Zoe,
    Sorry to hear that you did not enjoy this bread!
    Definitely not one of the best focaccia, but I find that it is very tasty!
    And eating it while still warm and fresh is quite nice actually.
    And yes, I was rather disappointed too, that the sunflower seeds did not stay in place!
    One interesting thing about this bake, is the pretty design of the bread! :)

  3. Delicious Zoe and this came out perfect

  4. Great idea to use pine nuts! I prefer them with pinenuts :)

  5. looks so beautiful n perfect! :) well baked focaccia! :)

  6. Zoe.....ur sunflower pull apart Focaccia is so amazing......with ur own unique modifications.....Can u give me some.... :)?

  7. I love this recipe (bread). Looks so fluffy and delicious. Great for soup that I making.

    By the way, Melbourne is my favorite city in all of Australia. We had a great time there...so nostalgic.

  8. Another gorgeous one. Love the sunflower cut.
    YUM! Well done, Z!

  9. I love focaccia and love this sunflower shape but sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this recipe. It looks really pretty though.

  10. It is our family favourite bread. Nicely done. Yummy!

  11. Hi Zoe, I've not bake this bread yet & hopefully I'm not late again this month ! LOL Sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy this bread but the sunflower shape looks fabulous though !

  12. Pretty looking focaccia even though the flavor wasn't your favorite.

  13. Hi Zoe! I froze some of mine so that I can warm them up and dip them into soups in the future. Your bread looks so much more softer and fluffier than mine!