One of my 2020 goals is to be better at bread making, and I just knew that this weekend was going to be the weekend that I baked a focaccia bread. Focaccia is one of our fav types of bread so we hope you love it too! We topped it with basil, plum tomatoes, rosemary and thyme but you can also add cheese, caramelised onions, or pesto if you'd like.
Serves: 4-6 people depending on how generous you are
Wow factor: ⭐⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
For the dough
500gr of strong, white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
12gr of fast action, dried yeast
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp caster sugar
300ml lukewarm water
Extra virgin olive oil - just keep this bottle handy
For the topping
4 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
Handful of basil leaves
8 plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
Maldon sea salt flakes
To make the dough, take a large mixing bowl and add your flour and salt. Mix and make a well in the middle of the bowl.
Add yeast, sugar, olive oil and lukewarm water in a separate jug. Mix well with a fork.
When the yeast mixture is frothy, pour it in the well that you've created in step 1.
Use your fork to mix everything together until it becomes hard to do it by fork. Using your hands, take out the dough from the large mixing bowl and turn it onto a floured surface.
Hard work starts now as you have to knead this dough for 10 minutes non-stop. If it becomes too sticky, feel free to dust more flour. Make sure to knead this properly as it will create the lovely focaccia texture we all know and love.
Take the large mixing bowl you just used, and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil to coat the bowl. Transfer the kneaded dough back in the bowl and dust a bit of flour on top. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove for at least 40 minutes so that it can double in size.
While the dough is rising, you can use this time to prepare the toppings.
To prepare your herbs, place them on a plate and drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over the herbs. We do this so the flavours come out, and to help ensure they don't burn in the oven. Leave them be until you are ready to use them later.
When 40 minutes is up, take a baking tray and cover the base with extra virgin olive oil (we told you we needed the whole bottle handy).
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees.
Take your dough and spread it out all over the tray. Using your fingers (not nails), push the dough down to create dips and wells. Now add your toppings. We liked pushing the basil and tomatoes in the wells. With the herbs, make sure you take the stem out because you don't want to be eating hard stem when you're tearing into your lovely focaccia. Discard the stem but whatever oil has been left behind, pour it all over your dough.
When you are happy with your toppings, sprinkle sea salt flakes and another good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Cover the baking tray with the damp tea towel and let it prove again for another 20-30 minutes. Yes we know, it's annoying to have to prove twice but trust us, this focaccia is worth it! The longer you prove, the softer the bread will be too.
When the dough is ready, take off the tea towel and place it in the oven (middle row) for 20 minutes until the top is a nice golden brown colour, but still soft in the middle. Enjoy warm with your favourite pasta dish or with olive oil & balsamic vinegar. This thing is seriously dangerous 👀
Even for a newbie like me I was quite shocked at how nice this focaccia turned out to be so please try it! Don't be scared 👩🏻🍳#SezPK