To put it simply, I was having major withdrawal symptoms after gorging on focaccia everyday for 5 days and then going cold turkey for 2 weeks. I woke up today just KNOWING that I had to put an end to this deprivation.
Focaccia is one of Italy’s gifts to the flat bread world and it is pronounced foh-cacha.
Usually I avoid making yeast based baked foods but today, I took the bull by the horn like a brave matador and I cowed this Leviathan. At the end of it all, I couldn’t quite believe how easy and relatively fuss free the whole process was and the results were uh-mah-zing!
Right now in my head I have nothing less than 500 hundred varieties that I intend to bake before 2014 runs out.
Here’s the recipe, simple and easy. The fluffy softness of the bread belies the lack of butter in this recipe, yes you heard me right, not an ounce of butter!
I hope the step by step guide will encourage you to make this bejeweled fluffiness.
2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove (cut in half horizontally and roasted)
1/4 cup slivered sun dried tomato
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dry rosemary
2 tablespoons dry chives
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve.
Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears.
Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture then pour in 1/4 cup olive oil.
When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook.
Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. I ended up using 3 3/4 cups; it’s really up to you but be sure not make the dough too dense, do not exceed 4 cups.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times.
Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn’t form a skin.
Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and put in a warm place (I used my oven after warning it for a minute) until doubled in size; about 45 minutes.
Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and dust with corn flour. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick.
Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Now time to prep the toppings.
To be honest you can pretty much use whatever catches your fancy on this bread but I kept mine simple this time around.
You could roast the garlic ahead of the dough preparation, by simply halving a whole clove of garlic without peeling it. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes in the oven. Alternatively you can peel and the chop garlic and sautée in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat.
I had some roasted garlic to hand already from a whole roast chicken I made yesterday.
Preheat oven to 185 degrees C. Uncover the dough and poke with your fingertips giving the dough lovely dimples for the olive oil and garlic topping to nestle in.
Brush the surface with more olive oil and then add roasted or sautéed garlic, sundried tomatoes, chives, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Watch it closely after the 15minute mark to ensure it doesn’t burn.
It was thrilling to see the final results. The sundried tomatoes and garlic were like rubies and pearls studding the bread.
We had focaccia sandwich for brunch and every single person loved it; the munchkins included! It was worth every single minute!
After this meal we all took naps! Lol!
FFF Tip of the Day: Don’t be afraid to customize the toppings for this recipe. Just ensure that you keep the flavours balanced.