Focaccia is a fresh, light bread originating from Italy that has exploded in popularity. Here is how you can make focaccia at home
Focaccia has exploded in popularity in recent years. Baked at much higher temperatures than bread and made rich with olive oil, it stays fresh for longer than regular bread. This light Italian bread is a great side dish, alongside pasta, or can be used as sandwich bread to give your sandwiches some flavour.
"This light Italian bread is a great side dish or it can be used for sandwiches"
Focaccia is easier to make than you might think, taking just one hour and fifteen minutes, from start to finish. Here’s how you can make focaccia at home.
What will you need?
- 2 teaspoons dry (powdered) yeast
- 300ml lukewarm water
- 450g strong white (bread) flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
How much does it make and how long does it take?
- Makes 1 loaf
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Rising time: 45 minutes
- Cooking time: 15 minutes
How do I make it?
1. First grease a baking tray and then sprinkle the yeast onto water to dissolve. Place flour in a large bowl and stir in the salt. Next, make a well in the centre; pour in yeast mixture and 3tbsp oil. Mix the flour into liquid ingredients, using a wooden spoon first and then your hands, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead it for about ten minutes or until smooth and elastic. Keep the dough moving by turning, punching and folding it to prevent it from sticking. Sprinkle a little more flour onto the work surface, if necessary. Be careful not to add too much flour or dough will become dry and lose its elasticity
3. Shape dough into a ball and place it on the baking tray. Roll out dough (or push it out with your hands) into a round approximately 20cm in diameter and 2cm thick. Cover tray loosely with a clean kitchen towel; tuck ends underneath. Leave the bread in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in thickness.
4. Preheat oven to 230°C and remove the towel. Pour a little lukewarm water into a cup, then dip your fingers into the water, and press them into the risen dough, making deep indents over the whole surface; wet your fingers each time so that the top of the loaf is very moist. Brush remaining oil over the bread and sprinkle on the coarse salt.
"Bake the focaccia until it is golden brown for the best results"
5. Bake focaccia for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let it cool for 15 minutes. Wrap the bread in a clean towel to soften the crust as it continues to cool. Serve warm or cool. Focaccia can be kept in a polythene bag for up to 2 days.
Banner credit: Focaccia (Fred Benenson)
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