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No-knead Purple Focaccia

Just a year ago, NUS food scientists found a way to cause the sugars in bread to be digested at a slower rate than regular white bread, reducing blood sugar spikes linked to obesity and diabetes. This new findings was reported not only in local news (see Channel NewsAsia) but also worldwide in main stream news channels (see CNN and Huffington Post).

They did it by adding black rice extract to the white bread mix. The purple colour is a result of the anthocyanins in black rice reacting with the bread’s starch.

Today, we attempted a no-knead purple focaccia, using black rice flour, plain flour and purple sweet potato flour. The resulting texture is slightly firmer than white focaccia. With lower glycemic index, this is definitely a healthier, diabetic-friendly version than the normal white focaccia.

No-knead Purple Focaccia


  • 350 ml warm water
  • 1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 80g black rice flour
  • 350g plain flour
  • 3.5 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • Pitted black olives
  • Purple sweet potato flour, for dusting
Step 1.

Put 350ml warm water in a large bowl, mix in sugar and dried yeast, set aside for 5 minutes until frothy

Step 2.

Mix black rice flour, plain flour and 1 teaspoon of salt together, pour into the large bowl to combine with the yeast and water.

Step 3.

Use 2 spoons to mix the flour, water and yeast into a dough, until the light violet colour is even.

Step 4.

Drizzle little olive oil on the side of the bowl, going round a full circle. Using spoon, bring the dough inwards so that the olive oil coats the bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel, leave it in a warm, draught-free place to proof for 45 minutes* or until doubled in size.

*For impatient people like me, I accelerate the proofing process by putting into the oven with 35-40°C, this till cut down the time to 20-25 minutes.

Step 5.

Dust a cast iron pan with purple sweet potato flour, and transfer the risen dough in. When transferring, the dough will deflat a little but will become elastic. Lightly dust the entire dough with more purple sweet potato flour, and mould into round shape to fit the pan.

Step 6.

Leave the dough to proof again for 20 minutes or doubled in size. I usually cover with the cast iron lid and put in the oven for accelerated proofing at 35-40°C.

Step 7.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Use your finger to make dimples in the focaccia, add the pitted black olives in the dimples.

Step 8.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden and focaccia sounds hollow when tapped on top. Serve with your favourite greens and cheese, or with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Featured ingredients:

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