Focaccia

We are moving, not out of my home but to the next type of food category – Breads!

What brought this on? Beef Stew with added pearl barley and lentils to ‘beef’ the stew up with other proteins and after watching an episode of the Great Australian Bake-Off on breads.

My usual Focaccia is made with my Herman starter, that’s another story altogether. However, Herman wasn’t co-operating, hence I have had to fall back on the basic yeast recipe which follows.

Ingredients:

1 packet of instant yeast (about 7g)

1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon white sugar

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour (or bread flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Toppings:

1-2 cloves of crushed garlic soaked in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil

black olive halves

cherry tomatoes, halved

sprigs of rosemary

1 teaspoon dried oregano

coarse sea salt

Method:

  • Place the yeast, sugar & warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast, cover with cling wrap and leave for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the olive oil, 3 cups of flour and the salt. Mix till it is all combined into a ball. Add more flour, if the dough is sticky. Don’t add to much, we want it to be smooth and elastic.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. This helps the gluten to be absorbed and helps with the rising of the dough. Watch the short video clip below on how to knead with the balls of your palms. Use both palms and not like the video, as I had to film with the other.
  • Oil the same mixing bowl, up to the edges to allow for the dough rising. Place your dough in the bowl, oil the top. Cover with cling wrap and a dish towel over the top. Leave in a warm place for about an hour to allow the dough to rise.
  • An hour has gone by? Remove the dish towel and cling wrap. Remove the dough from the bowl. There is no need to punch it down, you can if you feel like doing it, as it will deflate when you take it out of the bowl.
  • Knead for another minute or so.
  • Brush a rectangle baking dish with olive oil. A brownie pan size works best.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangle to fit the baking dish or smaller if you are down to using a cookie tray. Cover with cling wrap / dish towel again. Set aside for about 20 minutes.
  • 20 minutes gone, the dough should have risen a bit on the second proofing. This is when you make indents into the dough. Use the end (the small end) of a wooden spoon and make indents about 1cm depth into the dough and regular intervals This is so it’s easier to sit the olives and cherry tomatoes in.
  • Another 30 minutes to proof, yes with cling wrap and the dish towel.
  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
  • Remove the dish towel and cling wrap for the final time. Brush the top with the garlic infused olive oil. Place the olives & cherry tomatoes into the indents you made earlier. Sprinkle the salt, rosemary & oregano over the top.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  • Serve cut into squares.

Recipe adapted from Periplus mini cookbooks Classic Essential Bread and Buns

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