Monday, 7 February 2011

Focaccia

One of my many vices in life happens to be bread. More specifically, lovely homemade bread which is full of flavour. The two I made most often are soda bread and focaccia although one of my goals this year is to branch out and try new breads.
I haven't made nearly enough posts recently but I've had many things going on in my life and food isn't my only passion. I've recently started in the world of roller derby again after almost a year's break and I've been broadening my crafty horizons.
I've always made rosemary and sea salt focaccia and I'm well practiced at this. I've always made it in the traditional way but my geekier half (who also happens to have a blog - Lustrous Musings ) has inspired me to try new things. He made amazing deep sun dried tomato & sweet red pepper focaccia over the weekend, which I've recreated (the recipe is on his blog) and a deep version of my rosemary and sea salt focaccia.


Rosemary & Sea Salt

500g strong bread flour

10g fine sea salt

5g fast action yeast

2tbsp rape seed oil

The first step is to place the flour and salt in a bowl to mix together. I combine and kneed the dough in a stand mixer, however it is easy to do by hand or using the dough setting on a bread maker.
Add the yeast straight to the flour and 350ml of warm water and mix into a rough dough, then add the oil and kneed. It needs to be kneeded until the dough is smooth - length of time depends on the method you are using.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Leave in a warm place to rise for around an hour.
Lightly oil a round spring form cake tin (or for traditional style use a shallow rectangular tin) and press in to fit tin. Cover the tin with a damp towel and leave in a warm place to rise again for half an hour.
Once the dough has risen poke rows of dimples all over the surface of the dough and fill the holes with rapeseed oil, then sprinkle with chopped rosemary and sea salt flakes.
Bake at 200C for 15 - 20 minutes.


Conclusions

I still need a little practice until I am 100% happy with my baking results, but I am pretty happy with my progress so far considering that bread has never been one of my strong points. I realised several years ago that home made bread is in general many times better than what can be purchased at the supermarket and during my uni years (when I had vast amounts of free time) I almost never brought a loaf of bread and mastered the white loaf. I'm not suggesting that baking ALL you own bread is easily achievable (or even desirable) but every now and again it can be a real treat.

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