I make this quite often and it turns out great. Just though I'd share the recipe in case anyone fancies it:
For the bread:
Strong white bread flour X 500g
Semolina flour (or, if you can't get hold of this, pasta flour) X 500g
Fast action bread yeast (I think they're in 7g pouches) X 2 pouches
Sugar (preferably fair-trade and unrefined) X 30g
Salt X 30g (note that the recipe says to use 30g, but i tend to use around 20g - it's to taste, really)
Tepid water (at body temperature) X 1 pint (or thereabouts)
For the flavoured oil:
Olive oil (extra virgin, if you like) X about half a bottle
Fresh rosemary X several sprigs
Fresh Thyme X several sprigs (you can use just rosemary, or just thyme, or both... great!)
Fresh garlic X several cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper X small pinch
Preheat an oven to around 200 degrees centigrade (hotter for a conventional oven)
To make the oil:
1. Add the olive oil to a mixing bowl.
2. Find a way to bash hell out of the herbs and do it (don't turn them to pulp, though - you're just trying to bruise them to release the flavour).
3. Crush the garlic cloves so that the skin cracks and reveals the white flesh.
4. Add the bruised herbs and garlic cloves to the oil, season to taste and mix well.
5. Set aside.
To make the bread:
1. In a bowl (or on a work surface), mix together the two types of flour; the sugar; salt; yeast and water.
2. Work into a dough and add more water if necessary (bread dough should be as wet as possible without being sticky i.e. if it's sticking to the work surface and your fingers, it's too wet and if it's forming cracks then it's too dry. You'll become better at judging how much water to use with practise).
3. Knead for about 10 minutes (do this by pushing the heel of one hand into the dough and then pulling it back with the other, thus developing a rhythmic kneading action)
4. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, form into a ball and set aside to rise in a warm, non-draughty place for around half an hour. This not only allows the yeast to activate but it is essential for developing the flavour and texture of the bread.
5. Dust a baking tray with a small amount of flour.
6. Go back to your dough; it should now have doubled in size. Punch the dough with your hand to knock out the gas that has accumulated inside - this is known as 'knocking back'.
7. Dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough out into the requisite shape.
8. Place in the baking tray and, using your fingers, make several indentations all across the surface, being careful not to go all the way through to the bottom. What you're trying to do here is to produce a surface that will accommodate the flavoured oil i.e. one with a larger surface area than that of a flat surface.
9. Pick up the herbs and garlic and use them to squeeze the oil onto the dough. You can put some of the herbs on top as well, it's up to you. You can also put the garlic on top as well - again, up to you. Remember to be sensible with the amount of oil that you use - there should be a good covering of oil across the surface - if it looks like you're in danger of drowning it, then stop!
10. Leave to rise again for another half an hour.
11. Once the half hour is up, carefully place in the oven for around 40 minutes. Keep an eye on it though and use your common sense about when to take it out. The surface should be golden brown... not white, or black!
12. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few moments and enjoy!
Can't believe how long that took to write out!
What's great is you really don't need to be an expert to pull it off, so give it a go!
How to make focaccia Watch
- Thread Starter
- 02-08-2009 11:36
- 02-08-2009 11:40
Nice, I'm going to try that out.