Easy Peasy Focaccia for Beginners!

Focaccia is an absolutely gorgeous Italian flat baked but light and airy bread filled with flavour and perfect drizzled with olive oil, balsamic and dusted with salt. It is made similarly and as easily made as a pizza dough.

I have only ever made Focaccia twice in my life ( both last week) however I must have eaten it at least 200 times!! I was inspired by a colleague of mine who came into work recently with focaccia she had freshly made at home and said it was REALLY EASY. So off I went to the shop to buy some strong white bread flour, active yeast sachets, fresh rosemary and thyme, a big bottle of extra virgin olive oil and some decent salt flakes.

She was right it was REALLY EASY.

It is not quick to make but the part that requires the man handling of the ingredients only takes about 20 minutes. The rest is waiting time where you can go off and do other things, like laundry or as I did panic and watch a million YouTube videos to check I was doing it right and searching “is the dough meant to look like this”!

Summary: Mix Ingredients 6 – 8 together and set aside. In a large glass bowl combine ingredients 1 – 5 and knead dough. Prove for 1 hour. Roll out and fit to oven tray. Rest dough for 30 minutes. Make finger sized wells, drizzle infused oil and bake for 25 mins.

Ingredients

  1. 500g strong white bread flour
  2. 2 sachets of active yeast
  3. 300ml lukewarm water
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp caster sugar
  6. 300ml olive oil
  7. handful of rosemary
  8. handful of thyme
  9. handful of breadcrumbs
  10. 2 tablespoons posh flaked salt

Full Recipe:

  • Separate the thyme and rosemary herb from their stalks (Tip: use thumb and forefinger to slide down stalk in opposite direction of growth to remove herb from stalk.) Pour 250ml of olive oil in jug and add the thyme and rosemary to the oil. Set aside.
  • Using a heavy based glass bowl add the white flour,  two thirds of the water, 2 sachets of yeast, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of caster sugar.
  • Using your hands form the mixture into a dough, add the last 100ml of water bit by bit and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Massage and push the dough around with the base of your hands. The dough should be a workable consistency, if too wet add more flour, if too dry add a little bit more water.  If easier dust a clean flat surface with flour to knead the dough.
  • Swoosh some oil around the bowl. Leave dough in oiled bowl for 1 hour in a warm place (airing cupboard, near tumble dryer) and cover with a tea towel.
  • 1 hour later: The dough should be twice the size.
  • Prepare an oven tray 8 x 12 inch, grease with 2 tablespoons of infused olive oil and sprinkle a large handful of breadcrumbs on bottom of the tray.
  • Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the dough to the shape of the tray – it will spring back – do not worry about this. Put the dough into the base of tray, shaping it as best as possible.
  • Cover with tea towel and leave to prove for 30 minutes.
  • Pre heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  • 30 minutes later: The dough should fit the tray better now, flatten the level of the dough then push your fingers into the dough to make shallow wells. It will rise.
  • Drizzle 200 ml of the infused oil including the herbs over the dough. foccaia oven
  • This is what gives focaccia the unique moist taste. Sprinkle with a little salt. Put tray in the oven for 25 minutes (until slightly browned).
  • Once cooked: drizzle the remaining oil over the cooked focaccia as it will absorb it right up! Sprinkle 2 tsp of flaked salt over the top and when cool enough to touch, remove from tray, cut and serve.
  • Keep in air tight container upto 4 days (if it lasts that long – it is very yummy)!!

Simple focaccia tastes absolutely amazing! However if you want to make the focaccia more interesting…

foccacia onions.jpg

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan, chop 2 red onions into half moon shapes and cook on a low – medium heat, adding approx 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over time. Cook for 10 minutes. Add to top of the focaccia for the last 8 minutes of oven time. You could also add sundried tomatoes or artichokes.

It sounds quite complex but once you have made it once or twice you will have found what method works best for you! I try to write my recipes a simple as possible so anyone can make it!

Hope you give this recipe a go, and enjoy it! Guaranteed to impress friends, family, and even the in laws, mine definitely like me more now! 😉

More food pics: @pagesbynatalie

 

 

 

 

 

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