I always enjoy eating focaccia and bread with tomatoes or olives in, so using the yeast left over from the bagels I made recently, I turned my hand to focaccia. This recipe is a combination of two from the BBC Food website (focaccia and focaccia with rosemary), and other bits from Google. I also used flour with mixed seeds, which meant I needed to use more flour than the recipes called for.
- 30g/1oz dried yeast (fresh is better)
- ½ tsp fruit sugar or fructose
- 600ml/1 pint 2fl oz warm water
- 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling
- 680g/1½lb strong white flour, plus extra for dusting (or 900g flour with seeds)
- 2 tsp salt
- Mix the yeast with the sugar in a small bowl for about 30 seconds, until the yeast becomes liquid. Stir in two-thirds of the water and the olive oil. (If using dry yeast, mix it straight in with the water and oil.)
- In a large bowl stir together the flour and the salt. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and salt along with some of the remaining water, if needed. Mix with a wooden spoon and bring together to form a soft dough. Add more water if the dough is a bit dry.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for ten minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film or a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/400F/Gas 7.
- When the dough has risen, knead it again for about five minutes on a clean floured work surface to ‘knock it back’.
- Shape the dough into two rough circles. Place the circles onto two baking sheets, cover with a clean, damp cloth and allow to prove (rise) until double their original size (about 10-15 minutes).
- When the dough has risen, use your fingertips to form dimples in the dough. Brush with the olive oil.
- Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake for ten minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and bake for a further 25-30 minutes until the loaves are golden and cooked-through. If you like, you can spray the bread with water (using a mister) once or twice during baking so that it ‘steams’ in the oven.
- When baked, turn out onto a wire rack to cool slightly. The focaccia is best eaten the day it’s made.
Taking it further
I made a topping out of the following ingredients, fried together.
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 dozen olives, halved and stoned
- 1 tbsp olive oil
I spread this out on the top of the bread at the end of step 8, but it got burnt in cooking. It would be better to mix it in with the dough in step 6, or place over the top 5 minutes before cooking is finished.