Fresh focaccia bread is delicious. I can remember in Italy walking along the Cinque Terre and stopping at a bakery that, as I remember, just made Focaccia, fresh and delicious with a variety of toppings. It’s great for feeding the masses at a party or a picnic. I make mine in my dough in my bread making machine but you can do it yourself if you don’t have one. I also use this dough, rolled thinly for pizza bases.
So what do you need?
For the dough
- 230 ml of warm water
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- 450 grams of strong / bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp of dried yeast
For the topping
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- herbs of your choice
- crushed garlic / sliced onions / shallots
- mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers or whatever you fancy…
I put all the ingredients into my bread maker in the order listed above and put it on the dough setting and 90 minutes later my dough is done. If you don’t have a bread maker you will need to put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the middle and pour in the water and oil and mix everything together to make a soft dough. You’ll then need to knead this on a floured work surface for about 10 minutes. Next lightly oil the bowl and put the dough in it and leave it in the bowl covered with a damp tea towel or an oiled piece of cling film to prove for about an hour until it increase by about 50% or more.
Once you have your dough your dough ready you need to knock it back, kneed it lightly, and then roll it out to the desired shape, it should be about a centimeter or so thick. I roll mine to fit a 35cm x 25 cm oiled backing sheet. Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover it and allow it to rise for about 30 mins. While it is rising pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C / 400F and prepare your toppings. A nice simple and classic topping is just olive oil with about 3 or 4 cloves of crushed garlic some sea ground sea salt and some chopped sprigs of rosemary. Above is a mix olive oil and truffle oil (about 1tsp), sliced onions and finely sliced mushrooms and salt and pepper. Below is shallots and cherry tomatoes – so whatever takes your fancy. Once the dough has risen in the tray make indentations with a finger tip these create mini wells for the oil to go into. Then put on your toppings and drizzle over the oil. Then put it in the oven for about 20 minutes until it’s golden brown. Eat immediately or cool on a rack. Yummy!