Posts Tagged With: italian bread

Herby Focaccia

Herby Focaccia - made for mopping up sauce!

Herby Focaccia – made for mopping up sauce!

Focaccia is an Italian flat-ish bread, traditionally baked and covered in salt, fresh rosemary and olive oil.  This version isn’t technically Focaccia because the herbs are inside the bread instead of one top and the dough is much drier and solid than traditional Focaccia would be.

What you have here though is a lovely alternative to garlic bread, thick pizza crust like slices with tons of lovely herbs inside waiting to explode in your mouth. It’s delicious for mopping up pasta sauce or simply dipping into olive oil, balsamic vinegar or pesto as a snack or starter.

It’s also ridiculously easy to make and only takes 15 minutes to cook in the oven because of it’s flatness. You can add as much or as little topping to it as you choose and spice it up with flavours such as chilli or sliced tomato or chopped garlic and parsley, but I tend to go for the regular olive oil, rosemary and some parmesan and grated mozzerella as well for that finishing touch.

INGREDIENTS

  • 345g strong bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (this is the stuff you don’t need to activate in water first)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 235 ml lukewarm water (if you can put your finger in it and not feel the temperature then it’s perfect)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 100g grated mozzarella

METHOD

  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the salt, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper and stir.
  3. Add the water and vegetable oil and start to scrape together into a dough using a knife before getting your hands in there and forming the final bread dough.
  4. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, this basically means if you stretch it, it bounces back into place without breaking., you need to knead the dough for at least 10 minutes to get the gluten going. Push the top of the dough away from you before pulling it back on top and repeating. Yes, you’re going to get muscles.
  5. Clean the bowl you mixed the dough in earlier and lightly coat it with oil. put the kneaded ball of dough inside and cover it with a damp teatowel or cling film and leave it to rise somewhere warm for 30-45 minutes. I place mine next to a hot radiator or near a sunny windowsill or just inside my loft if it’s warm out (it gets really warm up there in the summer), or in a conservatory or next to a hot oven. This is because I don’t actually have an airing cupboard, but if you do and it’s warm, then pop it in there!
  6. About 10 minutes before you go to fetch the bread dough, preheat the oven to 230C/210C Fan/Gas Mark 8.
  7. Check your dough, if it has risen to double it’s size it’s ready. bring it back to your work surface and punch it back down into the bowl. Turn it out onto an oiled baking sheet and flatten down it to about 1/2 – 1 inch in a rectangle shape.
  8. Using your fingers, push the top of the dough down to make dimples, then brush the top of the dough with the olive oil and sprinkle the cheeses over the top and drop a few springs of fresh rosemary here and there.
  9. Bake the bread in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the top has turned golden brown, check that it is cooked through by lifting the bread and gently tapping the bottom, if it sounds hollow then it’s done.
  10. Serve warm with a bowl of pasta and use to mop up any left over sauce.
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