Focaccia

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FocacciaFocaccia: Focaccia is popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and salt, and sometimes herbs, and may be topped with onion, cheese and meat, or flavored with a number of vegetables.
Focaccia dough’s are similar in style and texture to pizza dough’s, consisting of high-gluten flour, oil, water, salt and yeast. Focaccia is typically rolled out or pressed by hand into a thick layer of dough and then baked in a stone-bottom or hearth oven. Bakers often puncture the bread with a knife to relieve bubbling on the surface of the bread.

Ingredients for Focaccia:

(makes 1 loaf of bread):

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbs fresh rosemary leaves
  • 20 pitted black olives (preferably kalamata olives)

Method for Focaccia:

  • Combine the water, yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl.
  • Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 5 minutes or until frothy.
  • Place flour and half of the sea salt in a bowl.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in yeast mixture.
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined.
  • Use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.
  • Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  • Brush a bowl with oil to grease.
  • Place dough in bowl.
  • Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel.
  • Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C.
  • Brush a 20 x 30cm Swiss roll pan with 2 teaspoons of remaining oil.
  • Punch down centre of the dough with your fist.
  • Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes or until dough is elastic and has returned to original size.
  • Press into the prepared pan.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 20 minutes or until doubled in height.
  • Use your finger to press dimples into the dough.
  • Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle over rosemary and remaining salt.
  • Press the olives into the dough.
  • Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden and focaccia sounds hollow when tapped on base.
  • Focaccia is ready to be served.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

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