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Focaccia Bread

 

You can flavor this bread with pretty much anything you like.

Its great with pasta dishes, and also as snacks if you make them bite size!

You need:

350g plain flour

2 tsp (easy blend) yeast

olive oil

250ml warm water

salt

your chosen toppings.

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, if you are using easy blend yeast (which I recommend) put that in too, if not mix into the water and leave until frothy. 

 

Mix  a couple of table spoons of olive oil into the flour then gradually add the water (you probably wont need it all) until the flour turns to a dough which leaves the sides of the bowl clean.  If you think it is too sticky simply mix in some more flour.

 

Lightly flour a surface turn the dough out onto it and knead until bouncy and elastic. You will develop your own style of kneading over time, and will learn how much pressure to apply at the right times, if you have not got a clue how to knead bread, basically give it a good massage! Return it to the bowl and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel, so it is air tight, and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size, (I put mine in the oven on the lowest possible temp).

 

Then give it another quick knead to get rid of the air and divide into the portions you want, or leave it whole and shape. Now add your toppings, these are down to you, but a few suggestions are listed below. You can incorporate them into the dough or stick them into the top.

 

Spread the dough out into baking tins cover and leave to rise again. Once it has risen take it and give it a poke with all your fingers on both hands so as to create little dents (1/2cm deep) pour on a good few table spoons of olive oil give it another poke and place it in the oven for about 15/20 mins at 210°c or until golden brown.  Serve hot or cold.

 

Toppings  are:

Mixed herbs-try mixing them in with the oil at the end for a crispy top.

Red onions and garlic-shoved into the top of the dough.

Any cheese-folded into the dough, with sun dried tomato paste smeared on the top.

Try them, but absolutely anything will work.

Try this bread for a sandwich with rocket and a soft cheese, brie or bours in etc, it’s tongue lashingly good!

 

 

FOCACCIA BREAD

This bread can be cut into small (3” x 3”) pieces to be eaten as an accompaniment or appetizer as is, or it can be split and filled for sandwiches.

1 ¼ cups hot tap water

1 Tbsp yeast

2 Tbsp sugar

1/3 cup dry milk powder

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 egg

3 to 4 cups bread flour

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp coarse salt

 

Dissolve the yeast in the hot tap water. Add the sugar, dry milk powder, olive oil, salt, and egg and mix well. Add the first 3 cups of bread flour gradually, mixing well after each addition. Add ½ cup of the remaining flour and mix in until smooth. Place some of the last ½ cup of flour on the kneading board, turn out the dough onto the board, and knead in only enough flour to give you smooth, barely non-sticky dough.

Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in an large, oiled bowl, cover with saran, and allow to double in a warm place (about 90 minutes). Punch down and allow to rise until doubled again (about 40 minutes). Punch down and divide the dough into two parts.   Let rest for 10 minutes.

Spray two cookie sheets with a no-stick product (Pam, Baker’s Joy, whatever). Spread a piece of the dough out on each of the pans (I use my hands like I was doing a pizza crust) into an approximately oval shape.

Don’t try to be perfect. It should have that “rustic” look. Brush the surface with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Indent the surface of each loaf by pressing all over with your fingertips. (Don’t make holes.) Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (approx. 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Press all over again with fingertips. Bake the bread for about 20-25 minutes. depending on how brown and crisp you like your bread.

 

 

 

 

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