Prep2 hrs 30 mins
There's nothing as wonderful as a freshly baked focaccia. Adapted from "Bread" by Treuille and Ferrigno. i even love this plain, without any filling. You can use anything for the filling; iI've included another variation. Generally, any Italian-style ingredients such as roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, fresh herbs (esp basil/oregano) or grilled aubergines, will complement this bread. Just remember that any topping/filling must be cooked in the same time that it takes the bread to bake. Therefore, vegetables need to be chopped/sliced, and partially cooked (roasting/parboiling before they are used. Prep time includes dough rising/proving.
- Sprinkle yeast into 200ml of the water in a bowl.
- Let sit 5 mins; stir to dissolve.
- Mix about 3/4 of the flour with salt together in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeasted water and olive oil.
- Mix in the flour.
- Stir in remaining water to make a sticky dough, using a wooden spoon.
- Add the remaining flour, if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to form a knead-able dough.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead until smooth, silky and elastic, about 10mins.
- (you can add more flour if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time) Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap/tea towel.
- Leave to rise until doubled, 1 1/2- 2 hours.
- Knock back and divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.
- Chafe for 5 minutes.
- Chafing: Form each piece into a ball by cupping your hands gently around it.
- Apply a light, downwards pressure to the sides, while simultaneously rotating the dough in a steady, clockwise motion.
- Continue until the dough forms an even, round shape.
- This action is called CHAFING.
- Leave to rest 10 minutes.
- Roll out each piece of dough into a 9 inch round.
- Place one round on an oiled baking sheet.
- Arrange the cheeses and basil on top, then seal the filling using the second round.
- Cover the dough loosely with a tea towel.
- Prove until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Using your fingertips, lightly press into the surface of the dough to form dimples about 1/2 inch deep.
- Sprinkle with coarse salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Top with rosemary sprigs.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F/200°C for 30-45mins until golden.
- Drizzle immediately with remaining olive oil, and serve warm.
- Variation- use 1 lb cherry tomatoes (drizzle with 1 TB olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then bake at 400°F for 20 mins), 5 oz mozzarella and 4 oz rocket (arugula) as filling.