Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Focaccia Bread

Off late I have been thinking about sharing a bread recipe instead of sharing same kind of dessert or curry recipes. Most of us get nervous when it comes to making any bread related stuff. I am not an expert either in this field. But when it’s something new, I get excited to try it out. So I went ahead and did the experiment with today’s recipe of Focaccia Bread. I tried couple of different recipes of Focaccia Bread and eventually decided to stick to below one. Hope you will like it.  

Before coming to the recipe, let me give a brief introduction of Focaccia Bread. It’s a flat oven-baked, very popular Italian bread. It can be used as a side to meals, as a base for pizza, or as sandwich bread. In style and texture, it’s quiet similar to pizza. If you want something simple and classic, try rosemary and sea salt toppings. But when I searched about Focaccia, I found dozens of different and delicious toppings. The ones I liked are caramelized onions, half olives, cheese and half jalapenos. If you prefer to make focaccia to be a simple herby bread, you may allow only olive and herbs besides sea salt.

It is best served when it is warm. The recipe that I have tried today is highly inspired by Lorraine Pascale's Focaccia Bread. Though I have changed a bit here and there. The process of making Focaccia starts by making a dough of flour, oil, water, salt, sugar and of course yeast. Then it’s baked in an oven. A common practice is dotting the unbaked bread to create multiple wells in the bread. It helps to preserve the moisture in the bread. As a next step, olive oil is spread over the dough prior to rising and baking. Here is the details of the recipe. 

Recipe of Focaccia Bread : One flat loaf , serves 6 to 8 

Preparation time : 30 minutes 
Cooking Time : 25 - 30 minutes 

Ingredients : 

Bread Flour : 500 g ( 2 cups and 1/4 cup )
Active Dry Yeast : 2 tablespoons / 1 sachet 
Olive oil : 80 ml (1/3 cup plus extra for drizzling ) 
Water : 150 - 250 ml ( 1 cup ), warm ( 105 degrees F )
Vegetable oil / oil spray / olive oil : 
Salt : Large pinch 
Sugar : 1 tablespoon
Cheese for topping :  as per your choice, I used a blend of  Mozzarella, Parmesan and Asiago, 1/2 cup,
Fresh Rosemary : 2 teaspoons, minced ( optional )

Method : 

1. Take a mixing bowl, add yeast and warm water and whisk it. Add olive oil, salt, sugar and the flour. Mix it well using a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff and sticky to mix. 

2. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough for about ten minutes by hand on lightly floured work surface.  The dough will feel stretchy when it pulled. To test if the dough is ready, make a ball with dough then, using a well-floured finger poke a shallow indent in the side. If the dough springs back, then it is ready. Or knead it for a few minutes longer. Total kneading time is about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large bowl, place the dough into the bowl. Coat it with extra olive oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and let it rise in a warm place until the volume gets doubled. It will take 1 to 2 hrs.

4. Take  a baking sheet, coat with olive oil / oil. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan. Press gently into a rough oval or rectangular shape. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap.  Let it rest for 15 minutes. 

5. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons more olive oil on the top of the dough. Poke oil-covered fingers deeply into the dough to make dimples all over the surface. Let it rise again until the dough becomes double, it will take approximately 45 minutes. 

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C. Drizzle 1 more tablespoons oil on the surface of the dough, sprinkle cheese, rosemary ( optional ), or other toppings ( as per your choice), Sprinkle some sea salt over the dough. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bread is well risen and light golden brown. 

7. Remove from the oven, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brush it on the top of the loaf, leave to cool on the baking pan. Cut and serve. 

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