Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Garlic, Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia

I love the simple pleasure of baking bread.

The smooth, elastic dough between your fingers as you knead. The excitement of seeing how much your bread has risen. The eager, nervous anticipation as you watch it cook. The lovely smell, drifting through your house. Most of all, the joy of a warm, delicious mouthful of bread that you know you made.

This recipe fulfills all of those fantasies. Plus, it came with the thrill of trying something new and succeeding! Now, if you've been hanging out here for a while, you'll know I'm a wee bit addicted to that thrill. I almost never choose to cook something I've made before- and if I do, I have to change it up a bit; fill it, flavour it, ice it! Making a focaccia had long been on my list of things to try- it came with all the joys of baking bread, but was just different enough to warrant calling it 'a new skill'.

In the school term I barely ever bake bread. All the things that make it so wonderful- proving and kneading and baking- take a long time and a long time is one thing I rarely have during the term. That's how focaccia kept getting ignored on my list of things to try and stayed there so very long. But in a way, that made baking this loaf all the more special.

Having said that, however, this recipe is so quick and easy that I think I might make it in the school term. Sunday morning I could make it and it'd be ready just in time for a warm, delicious lunch! This was possibly the quickest of all the focaccia recipes I saw, and although you need a while, proving and baking times leave plenty of time to do whatever else you need to.

I kept this loaf very simple because I'm intending to serve it with a beautiful Italian vegetable soup for dinner, but if you wanted to make it more elaborate to serve on it's own you could top it to your heart's desire! I'm intending to try a tomato (maybe even sundried?), olive and feta one for lunch at some point. Marinated eggplant or capsicum also seem like they'd suit, or maybe goats cheese if we were going to go all out extravagant? Oh the possibilities!

Garlic, Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia
Based on: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/1789/olive+rosemary+focaccia

  • 310ml (1 1/4 cups) warm water
  • 2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 450g (3 cups) plain flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 1/2 tbs fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tsp garlic, crushed*
  1. Combine the water, yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 5 minutes or until frothy.
  2. Place flour and half of the sea salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined, then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.
  3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Brush a bowl with oil to grease. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush a 20 x 30cm Swiss roll pan with 2 teaspoons of remaining oil. Punch down centre of the dough with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes or until dough is elastic and has returned to original size. Press into the prepared pan. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 20 minutes or until doubled in height. Use your finger to press dimples into the dough. Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle over rosemary, garlic and remaining salt. 
  5. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden and focaccia sounds hollow when tapped on base. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Mia :)

*I actually used dried minced garlic, because we *gasp* only have one clove of garlic in the whole house! If you would prefer to use dried, it worked out well, but otherwise I imagine fresh would be even yummier!

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Why hello there! If you liked or disliked this post or just want to say 'hi', feel free to leave a comment. I love getting comments- it's nice to know that someone out there is actually reading what I have to say, and they're really motivating!
Mia xo

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