On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Focaccia bread

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Just in case you were wondering if we live off sugar, here’s a bread recipe I tried today. There’s no sugar in it. It’s Focaccia. I do not like Olives. It used to be that I’d just never had one and so shied away from them. But that’s just silly. When we were out for an Italian meal (perhaps my favourite cuisine – love the Dish magazine this issue!!!) we had an antipasto platter, it had the green and black olives. I tried one of each. And let’s just say I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything never having tasted one for some (cough) decades.

focicca

So no olives, but feel free to add them if you like them.

Instead I dressed the Focaccia up with homegrown cheery tomatos from my MIL’s plants, and the Rosemary was from my herb garden. With Autumn well and truly here now (in just one week!) I think we can kiss goodbye any more cherry tomatos. So this is their last hurrah.

Homegrown

I’m not going to write out the recipe for the bread, but you can find it here on Dinners Dishes and Desserts.

The recipe is enough to make two breads. I would normally halve the recipe but I thought the second would make a nice change to the 50/50 Wholemeal bread machine loaf I make for our lunches during the week.

Let me say now, the poor KitchenAid struggled big time with the load.  There’s 7 1/2 cups of flour all told.  That’s just too much. Once the flour was mostly mixed in I took a few good handfuls of the dough out and let the KA knead in two batches.  I also found that the dough was too stiff.  That worried me so I added a little more water, I’m talking a little, like a teaspoon. I thought it funny given the recipe said to add more flour if it was too wet.

It has to be said that bread recipes really should give measurements in weight. There’s just too many ways to measure a cup and this can result in quite a difference in weight.

dough

Anyway, we got there in the end. The dough was really easy to shape into a ball, especially since there wasn’t any stickiness to it. I shape it by pulling gently around the side and sort of then tucking that to the bottom. The bottom right photo shows you what the top and bottom looks like.

Here’s a trick I read from another recipe I’ve recently read, it was for hot cross buns but the suggestion works no matter what type of bread you’re making.

I put both bowls in the oven. The oven is off. And then I added two smaller bowls of hot water. Shut the oven and then it got all nice and cosy in there. Given it’s Autumn it’s not so great for rising bread, but this trick did the trick.

shaping focicca

I used my new jelly roll pan, I bought it for when I get brave and make a rolled sponge. It’s a bit like the pasta maker that’s tucked in the corner cupboard. But I’m a step further on. I bought a drying rack while we were in Queenstown, so there’s no more hurdles to overcome – haha!

Despite the dough being very robust I was surprised just how easy it was to push into the shape of the pan, which is 10” x 15”, a perfect size.  After returning the bread to the oven for 30 minutes it was time to put the dimples in. That was fun. Back it went, only for 90 minutes despite the recipe saying 2 hours.

It cooked up so nicely. The second bread I put in my lasagne dish. I didn’t have anything else that was the right sort of dimensions. I do not recommend using a ceramic type dish. The bread stuck good and proper, despite it having about the same amount of oil coating all over it.  We’ll be eating our Focaccia sandwiches with the top being at the bottom because it tore as I struggled to release it from the pan.

The chewiness was good, but it lacked a little flavour. More Rosemary I think next time, and a little less sea salt.

The “next time” I’ll be making this recipe. Love those bread recipes that actually improve by leaving them overnight.

parmasen topped focicca

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