Tell me if you relate to this: you live for a good breadbasket. If you want to fill your kitchen with the smell of fresh-baked bread but are nervous about it, focaccia is the best place to begin.
Focaccia is a lovely, light bread to serve at parties, picnics, or just as a starter – and when it comes fresh out of the oven – it is mind-blowing. This classic focaccia recipe is simple and delicious. It is among the most popular of all Italian bread. As you travel through Italy, you’ll find focaccia bread that varies greatly with different thickness, toppings, and texture.
Liguria is the birthplace of traditional focaccia bread, where it is known as focaccia Ligure or focaccia Genovese. This one is a simple yet classic one, sprinkled with salt and brushed with olive oil, soft and about 1 inch thick. Tear up and dunk into a good olive oil and balsamic for a delicious starter – Italian style. Or for something a little more filling, load it up with delicious cheese and ham – or dunk into summer dips like hummus or a lovely olive oil and balsamic.
This easy recipe makes two delicious focaccia loaves and is taken from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake book. Here is how to bake Focaccia at home.
500g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
140ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading and to finish
10g instant yeast
Fine semolina for dusting (optional)
Flaky sea salt
halved cherry tomatoes
- Lightly oil a 2–3 liter plastic container.
- Put the flour into a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other.
- Mix the oil and water together and a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may or may not need to add all the water. The dough needs to be very soft – wetter than a standard bread dough. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.
- Continue to knead for around 5–10 minutes until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin. (It’s best to avoid adding any more flour as it is supposed to have a wet, sticky consistency.)
- When the dough feels soft and elastic, put the dough into the oiled tub. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – approx. 1 hour.
- Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and drizzle with olive oil.
- Put some olive oil on the work surface and dust with fine semolina if you have some. Carefully tip the dough onto the surface. Divide the dough in half. Stretch each piece out to a flat, even piece and place it on a baking tray.
- Cover with a tea towel to prove for about 1 hour, until the dough is doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger.
- Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220˚C.
- Use your fingers to make deep dimples in the focaccia, pushing them all the way through the dough to the bottom.
- Drizzle each focaccia with olive oil and sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and oregano. You can leave it at this or add more toppings if you desire. I added some mozzarella cheese, jalapenos, olives, and cherry tomatoes
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
- To check if it cooked, tap the bottom of the focaccia and you should hear a hollow sound. Trickle with more olive oil, then cool on a wire rack.
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Love & Hugs,