A delicious accompaniment to soups and Italian meals, this focaccia can also be your own artistic canvas ! Enjoy this quick simple recipe as a meal accompaniment , a snack or even a pizza base !
- Organic whole wheat flour – 310 grams.
- Luke warm water – 280 to 300 grams or as required
- Active dry yeast – 2 1/4 teaspoon
- Organic cane sugar or date paste- 5 grams
- Organic Rock Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper – one teaspoon
- Dried basil – 1/2 teaspoon
- Dried thyme – 1/2 teaspoon
- Dried rosemary – 1/2 teaspoon
- Dried oregano – 1/2 teaspoon
- Minced garlic – 4-5 cloves.
- Olive oil – 6-8 teaspoons
- Vegetables – chopped or sliced as per your artistic inclinations !
1. Add the garlic, pepper and all herbs to your olive oil at room temperature in a bowl and stir well.
2. Bloom the yeast. In your mixing bowl add 50 grams of lukewarm water (110f) and stir in the date paste or sugar. Add yeast and mix till the mixture becomes pasty. Cover and leave the yeast to froth and bubble for about 10 minutes. This let’s you know if the yeast you are working with is alive or not so don’t skip this step.
3. Then add in the flour and salt . Salt should not come in direct contact with the yeast so mix it in the flour before adding to the yeast.
4. Add in water. You may need less or more water depending on your climatic conditions such as humidity and the nature of flour. Lastly add 2-4 teaspoons of herb and garlic infused oil to flavour your bread.
5. Form a loose dough. This should be a soft dough and should hold it’s shape when formed into a ball. We are looking for a well hydrated dough. This means that the dough should be made using ample water and should not be dry. At the same time, take care that the dough does not become like a wet slurry and can be formed into a ball that is able to hold its shape.
6. Let this dough rest in a greased bowl, covered with a wet kitchen towel, in a warm place for an hour or until double in size.
7. While the dough is rising, prepare the vegetables you will be using to decorate your Focaccia. I used capsicums, onions, olives , corriander, spring onions, home grown tomatoes, and Mushroom.
8. Punch the dough and deflate it. Now prepare a rectangular pan of 11 inches by 7 inches – spread 1-2 teaspoons of infused olive oil and grease this dish well. Spread your dough in this dish to completely cover it. Use your hands. Dimple the top of the spread dough with your index finger. Grease the top of the dough with the infused oil once again.
9. Pre heat oven to 230C .
10. Now use your prepared vegetables to top the bread dough . The time that you will take to decorate your Focaccia should generally cover the time needed for the second rise – about 20-30 minutes. This is how my bread looked pre- baking. Once you are satisfied with your design, gently press in the vegetables and brush them with the seasoned olive oil. I additionally sprinkled on salt and pepper to season the vegetables and the bread.
11. Bake this bread in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or till it is well browned on top.
12. Slice your bread in squares and serve hot ! Focaccia will stay well in the refrigerator for upto two days.
Important notes :
1. Prepare a good amount of oil for this recipe. The oil can be infused overnight for best results. The best oil to use for this recipe isg extra virgin olive oil though I have also made this with vegetable oil .
2. Always handle well hydrated dough with oiled hands. It makes life all the more easier.
3. When baking the Focaccia, if you feel your vegetables are burning, then cover your pan from the top and complete the baking time (as required to cook your bread). I don’t use aluminum foils but instead cover my pans with an oven tray.