Focaccia – Italian Hearth Bread

So, you have followed my recipe for baking your own bread and are now crafting your own artisan loaves and have overdosed on nutrient rich foods – what next? Have a day off and make Focaccia. This bread has almost no micro-nutrients (white bread flour) is packed with fat (a bit of olive oil anyway) and tastes amazing. I like to serve it with my Gnocchi and root vegetables or a hearty bean and hummus salad. It is very simple so I have to fight the urge to make it daily or my fat to fit project could be dead in the water!

  • 350g white bread flour
  • 1 packet (7g) fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 210ml warm water
  • Toppings – see notes

Ready for this? Tip into a bowl and mix together well. Easy wasn’t it? OK, now turn out and kneed. Resist the urge to add more flour if it is a bit sticky as this will change the texture (try oiling your hands and the board as well if you need to). Kneed well for 10min or so and marvel at how the texture changes, it is pure alchemy. Place back in the mixing bowl, cover it and leave in a warm room until it has doubled in size (not a hot room or next to an oven or anything crazy, room temperature is fine. You want to give the yeast time to develop. Don’t rush it).

Put back on a board and kneed again and then roll out until it is an inch thick and leave again for 20 minutes until all puffed up again.

Now for the fun part. Stick your fingers in it until it is dimpled all over (this gives the focaccia its distinctive appearance) and leave again for 15 minutes.

Top it with any of the following or your own creation (please share below).

  • Olives
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh rosemary or thyme
  • Dried oregano

Finish with a good sprinkle of sea salt (I believe Americans call it Kosher salt – don’t ask me why – wiki it for yourself) and a drizle with olive oil.

Put into a preheated oven at 200 oC (someone want to work out the oF conversion for us?) for about 20 minutes. I would say tap on the bottom to see if it is done but you are likely to lose your toppings so you are going to have to judge it by sight i’m afraid.

Let it cool and then slice into wedges or pull and share. Try not to eat the whole things and remember – food is a pleasure not just a fuel 🙂

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