Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday night is 'Addicted to Foccacia' night

My mummy is very good to me, and believe me I do appreciate it.

My latest demand was for a couple of editions of a baking magazine being advertised on the TV with some freebie silicone moulds. 

When they arrived I managed to restrain myself from making endless cupcakes but found this foccacia recipe inside. And now I am addicted. This has to be the easiest bread to make but so light and fluffy and utterly scrummy. 

Foccacia Bread

  • 450g strong white flour 
  • 2tsp fast acting yeast - or as I use dried yeast, one heaped teaspoon of dried yeast reconstituted with 250ml of warm water and half a teaspoon of sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt 
  • 1 tablespoon of dried herb of your choice - so far I have made Rosemary, Thyme and Tarragon breads 
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil - or if you are watching your waistline, just use one tablespoon of olive oil and a little more warm water 

Sift the flour into a large bowl, then into a well in the centre add your yeast. If you are using fast acting yeast from a sachet you will need to add 250ml of warm water
Add the oil, herbs and 1 teaspoon of the salt, then start mixing together with your fingers or a wooden spoon, you might need to add a drop more warm water to create a smooth pliable dough. 

Place on a floured surface and knead well for about 10 minutes. I find this bit very addictive and have to time myself so that I don't spend too long kneading it. 

With a pastry brush or your fingers smear a bit of oil into the bowl and over a piece of cling film, pop the dough back into the bowl and cover with the cling film then leave to rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size. 

Once fully risen, pop it out of the bowl and knock back a couple of times to punch the air out, then either separate into however many breads you want or as in the photo above one big loaf (for tearing into chunky bits and dipping into spicy salsa chicken). 

Make sure the breads are about 1cm thick, either roll or push flat with the palm of your hand, then place onto an oiled baking sheet or some parchment paper, recover with the cling film and leave to rise again for about 20 mins. 

Preheat the oven to 220°c, gas 7. - Or in my case, stoke the Rayburn with a bit of coal and cover the oven door with a damp towel - it really brings the oven temperature up quickly - quirky but it works. 

If you have some fresh herbs, poke those into the dough before baking and sprinklyewith the rest of the sea salt -  if you are not watching your weight, drizzle the breads with a bit of olive oil, but I have not been doing this as I don't think they need it. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just golden on top, leave to cool and then stuff yourself silly. 

Just adapt the herbs you use for your recipe.  For curry I have done rosemary flavour  individual loaves,  for with Sunday lunch we had thyme flavour, and for tonight's spicy chicken salsa we had the bread in the photo above, a tarragon loaf.

1 comment:

Damn The Broccoli said...

What's happening with the oven door is the wet towel acts as an insulator preventing the heat escaping from the oven into the outside room through the main route, ie the glass.

This is exactly the same affect that a wet towel has on a radiator making them less efficient at heating rooms.

Nice little tip.