Healthy and delicious Italian bread, the Focaccia topped with rosemary, onion, garlic and black olives. Best ever Focaccia !!
Bread, bread and more bread, one can never really get tired of baking bread; rather it’s an addiction that simply grows deeper with each new loaf one bakes. It was about time that I shared my tried and tested Focaccia recipe, for this one bread has quite taken its fancy among the ever-growing food enthusiasts of our city. This oven baked Italian flat bread makes a perfect nibbling bite anytime of the day. The topping of delicious little herbs and other add-ons to one’s own liking (onion, garlic, olives, cherry tomatoes etc) makes it quite a wholesome snack, while the option of spreading my favourite dip is always open. I also love this bread for it makes for a great healthy snacking, with all the goodness of a fine extra virgin olive oil and no added cholesterol.
As I write this post the imposing smell of fresh bread is swirling up in my kitchen and I am so excited for I can see the bread has perfectly risen. I had sprinkled the top of my Focaccia with a little rosemary, fine sliced spring onion bulbs, garlic flakes and black olives, along with a little coarse salt & a generous amount of good extra virgin olive oil of course. A bite of the bread and I knew it had come out delicious, slightly crispy on the top and soft spongy Focaccia.
Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf):
- 2 cups & 2 tbsp Plain flour
- 3/4th cup tepid water
- 1 & ½ tsp dried yeast
- ½ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for greasing
For the topping:
- 2 small spring onion bulbs, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- A small bunch of rosemary leaves
- 4-5 black olives, sliced
- Some coarse salt to sprinkle
- Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
- Mix together the yeast and sugar with half the flour, add the entire tepid water and mix with a spatula and cover the bowl with a damp muslin cloth and keep in a warm place for 2-3 hours. The sponge should be bubbly on the surface and a little slightly risen.
- Then add the remaining flour, along with salt and olive oil into the bowl and gently stir with a spatula to form dough then knead the dough in the bowl for aprox 5 minutes.
- Tip this dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough by first stretching it into an oblong by pressing with your palms, then fold back and keep repeating the process for another 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Rub the inside of the bowl with olive oil and transfer the dough back into the bowl, brush the surface of the dough with more olive oil generously. Cover with a cling firm or damp muslin and leave again to rise at room temperature. For about 3 hours or longer untill it has almost trebled in size.
- Now transfer the dough to an oiled surface, gently press the dough out with the palm of your hand until it forms a rough rectangle, fold it into half and then again in the other direction (like you fold a piece of cloth). Tap it out again into a rectangular shape.
- Gently lift it onto the lined baking tray (about 25 X 20 cm, atlest) and tap out to fill the length of the tray & give it a nice rectangular shape, cover with an oiled plastic wrap and leave to prove for an hour.
- Heat the oven to 220OC.
- With the tip of your finger poke holes on the surface of the flattened dough, sprinkle with the toppings or any other of your own liking. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle coarse sea salt.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the focaccia has risen to approx 5 cm in height. Serve warm with your favourite spread (I suggest some Hummus).
Dos and Don’ts:
- Add toppings as per your own liking, cherry tomatoes or basil for example.
- Do not knead after the dough has risen in the second stage; just gently tap to shape up. If the dough is too resilient, use a little flour to dust.
- It can be kept in the fridge upto a week, just re-heat before serving. Or longer in the freezer, defrost at room temperature, warm up and serve.