With the engagement party fast approaching and my first week at work coming to an end – things are getting pretty stressful in the Brown/McNeill households! I've been trying to prepare as much of the food that I can in the little time that I have (I volunteered myself to do a cupcake stand at our villages Jubilee street party!) and bread is so easily frozen and you can hardly tell the difference once it's been thawed. Last week I was making olive and thyme bread, and this week I've had a go at focaccia.
I've never made focaccia before but I adore the stuff you get from the Italian restaurant Carluccios. I have to say, it's not as good as theirs but it's pretty darn good. After all my preparations, It didn't get frozen for the engagement party! We had family and friends round for drinks and dinner these evening for a pre-Jubilee get together and it ended up getting dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar over presecco with elderflower cordial.
Find the recipe below. I made it up from what little knowledge I have of making focaccia! Look out for a few more bread related posts this week as I try to frantically prepare for the party!
-500g strong white bread flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1½ teaspoons dried yeast
-3 liberal tablespoons of olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
-300ml warm water
-A handful of green olives (more or less as you please)
-Fresh oregano leaves
-Coarse sea salt
Start by putting the flour, salt and yeast in to a large mixing bowl and combine. Then, stir in the olives.
Make a well in the middle and add the olive oil and water. Now, remember that focaccia is a really sticky dough to begin with. It's not going to be pleasant. Take off your rings, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty! Form the dough into a ball.
Turn out on to a floured work surface and knead for around 10 minutes or until the dough becomes soft and manageable. Once it's been kneaded enough it should no longer stick to your hands.
Oil a large bowl and pop the dough in. Cover with a snap on lid or cling film and leave in a warm place for around an hour or until doubled in size.
Now to my favourite part. Your dough should be all big and soft and pillowy. Punch it, or 'knock it back' as they call it in the books.
Shape your focaccia in a shallow baking tray (I used a roasting tin for my focaccia, but yours can be round, square, rectangular, whatever you've got!) and spread out using your hands. You want your dough to be around an inch thick.
Put your dough back in to that warm place where it spends so much time and leave to rise again until doubled in size.
Dimple the dough using your finger tips and push oregano into the dimples. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and coarse sea salt and pop in the oven on gas mark 7 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden on top and cooked through.
Serve straight out the oven with dips and antipasti, mmm!