Focaccia

I love bread, everything about it – I like eating it, taking photos of it, making it, talking to it sometimes, kneading it, the whole shebang. I can’t remember where I got this recipe from but foaccia always looked really fun to make (what with all that poking) so I thought I would give it a go.

Focaccia

Preparation time : about 3hrs (including proving time)

Baking time : 30 minutes

-500g strong white bread flour

-1 and a 1/2 tsp salt

-7g dried fast-action yeast

-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-125g ball mozzarella

-5 tbsp pesto

The thing I like about bread (the easy kind) is that it doesn’t require many ingredients, just some scales and a strong pair of arms for some kneading!

First I mixed the salt with the flour. Then mix 325ml tepid water with the yeast. Salt deactivates the raising agents in yeast so that’s why you don’t mix them altogether first. I like to turn the salt and flour onto a clean surface and make a hole in the middle of the mound (sort of like a volcano) and add the liquid yeast and olive oil a little at a time, mixing in the surrounding flour.

The dough should be pretty gloopy and fairly sticky at the moment. Knead the dough for 15 minutes pulling and stretching it so that it becomes airy. When you dent it with a finger it should bounce back almost to its former position, if not knead a little more. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Prove for an hour or until the dough is double in size.

Before

After

Hopefully you can sort of see the change in size in the’before and after photos above. The proven dough should be very airy in comparison to above. Gently tease it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and ‘knock it back.’ By this, I mean knead it a few times until its elasticity was as before (less marshamallowy and more doughy). Then stretch it out to a size of roughly 20 x 30cm onto the baking tray. Cover with a damp cloth loosely and leave until half as high again for about 45 minutes.

 

Then the fun part. Use your thumb to make the signature  ‘dimples’ in the dough and then bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Tear some strips of the mozzarella and return to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until the bottom is fully cooked and slides off the tray.

Drizzle with a little pesto, olive oil and sea salt and it’s ready for sharing!

 

 

 

cooked as part of this menu

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