I made a couple of trays, one with fresh rosemary and the other one with olives and sun dried tomatoes.So the evening was one with good friends, good bread and good cocktails.
I used fresh yeast as I had some left in the fridge from when I made croissants but dried yeast works just as well. This recipe produces a soft risen dough as can be seen from the pictures, rather than a flatter crisper dough, just because that is how I prefer my focaccia!
1/2 pint warm water
2 heaped teaspoons fresh yeast [or about 1 1/2 dried]
1 lb 2 oz strong white bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine ground salt [table salt]
Olive oil - extra virgin if poss
sprigs of fresh rosemary, sun dried tomatoes, olives and coarse sea salt for the toppings [or whatever else takes your fancy!]
Medium baking tray with edges greased or lined with a sheet of baking parchment
- Mix the yeast into the water in a jug or small bowel and leave it to stand for a few minutes while you put the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Stir about 3 good tablespoons of olive oil into your yeast/water mix and then pour the whole lot into the flour and stir to combine - now at this point I use a small palette knife to bring this all together into a soft dough, but the other way is to get your hands into what will be a sticky mess at first and bring it all together with your fingers - either way once you have it together into a softish ball tip it out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for about ten minutes. [If you prefer tip it out onto a lightly Floured surface but don't mix the two or you will get into a mess!]
- Form this dough into a round ball, place it into a clean bowl and cover it with cling film or a damp tea towel to stop it drying out. Leave the dough in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours until it has doubled in size.
- Then tip the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and push your fingers into it to deflate it, then gently knead again for one or two minutes before forming it into a ball popping it back into its bowel and leaving it to rest for ten minutes.
- After it has rested tip it out into the baking tray and using the tips of your fingers push it gently from the middle out into the corners of the tray until it fills it - it should then be left to raise in the tin [ covered with a tea towel or cling film] for about 30 minutes.
- At this stage pre heat your oven to hot [200 oC] and sort out your toppings
- The next stage is to uncover your dough and press your fingers into the top of it to create a dimpled effect, drizzle olive oil over the surface and sprinkle with your toppings before putting it into the hot oven to cook for about 30 minutes until the top is brown and the bread cooked through.
Cut the bread into squares or slices to serve.
Two cocktails were served with the bread, Man-bor-tini and V Falls but I did not mix them, the creation of cocktails I leave to others, but there is a well worn copy of Diffords in the house!