Prep 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook 45 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.
This made a wonderful companion to our Italian dinner. I was nervous about it, because it looked SO big going into the oven, but it turned out so well and delicious that the two of us finished it off in one day. We'll have fun making this over and over, experimenting with different fillings.
I tried this recipe after not baking bread in years and boy did it turn out well. I discovered that I'm not ahuge fan of gorganzola, so it was a little too gorganzolaish for my taste, but the instructions were easy to follow and it really turned out beautifully. I'll try it again maybe with a slightly milder cheese.
I made this last week it turned out lovely,It was my first attempt at baking bread by hand,very easy to follow recipe,thank you.