Focaccia: 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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