Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Focaccia Bread

Basic Focaccia Bread

Italian Focaccia Bread

Makes one round 25cm loaf

 Ingredients

25g fresh yeast or 7g easy blend or 15g granules
3 1/2 cups of strong plain flour
2 tsp salt
5 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of course sea salt

Method

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes, the yeast will produce a tan coloured foam. 

Sift flour into large bowl, make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yeast, salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Mix the flour and add more water to form a soft dough.

Turn dough onto a floured surface, ( I use a large chopping board so it is easier in the clean up), knead the dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Return the dough to the bowl, swirl dough in a drizzle of olive oil and swirl dough around the bowl to coat the bowl in olive oil to prevent sticking. .  Cover with a clean tea towel and place dough in draft free warm area, if at home an airing cupboard is ideal. Depending on the temperature of the environment this will take 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

You don't want the dough to rise to quickly because this forms a yeasty beer like tasting bread.

Preheat oven to 200 - 220 degrees Celsius depending on oven.

Knock back, and press into a round shape, rectangle (what ever you desire) the dough should be about 2 - 3 cm thick.   Cover with cling film which has been sprayed with oil and leave to rise in warm draft free place for 30 minutes.

Poke the dough all over with your clean finger and pour remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough. Using a pastry brush, take the oil to the edges of the dough.  Sprinkle with course sea salt, I personally like a finer sea salt than the traditional course sea salt traditionally used, so crush salt a little if you don't wish the salt to dominate.

Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the bread is pale golden colour.

Cool on rack, this bread freezes well and it makes one round 25cm loaf.

Variations

Focaccia with Green Olives and Rosemary

185g green olives
olive oil
2 teaspoon of coarse salt
leaves of 2 rosemary sprigs

Place olives in the finger holes after the olive oil is drizzled, scatter the rosemary and salt over the foccacia bake as above.

Focaccia with Pancetta and Parmesan

90g pancetta diced
10 basil leaves torn
olive oil
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan

Scatter the pancetta over the second time risen dough with holes in it, poke the pancetta in, drizzle the olive oil over,  place torn basil leaves into the holes and sprinkle the Parmesan over. Bake as above.

Serving Suggestion

This goes very well with the Tomato Balsamic Chutney and Gorgonzola cheese as a simple lunch.
Look under Recipes - Chutneys and Jams

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