I have just realised that it has been far too long since I posted something food-related :-) I have been trying new recipes and last night made focaccia, recipe courtesy of the River Cottage Handbook "Bread". Now, I have always thought that this type of bread would be incredibly hard to make (not sure why) but in fact it was really easy and the result very tasty!
I'd probably adjust the recipe slightly (e.g. adding a bit more salt to the dough) but otherwise this is definitely a winner. I am particularly pleased that I was able to use some of the rosemary from the garden to sprinkle on top, so it feels even more homemade (if that makes sense). I have put a few pieces in the freezer and will report back on how that worked but I have left a couple of pieces out for lunch today - I reckon toasted focaccia with pesto, feta cheese and lettuce should go down a treat! :-)
One of my next missions in the kitchen is to make strawberry jam and also some sort of chutney. I've been looking at a number of recipes and as soon as I have made up my mind, I will get started. There is just something about filling jars and bottles with tasty things to be enjoyed later in the year - it is almost like bottling summer for the colder months! :-)
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 5g powdered dried yeast
- 10g fine salt
- 325ml warm water
- About 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for coating
- To finish
- A generous drizzle of olive oil
- A sprinkle of flaky sea salt
- A couple of rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped
- To knead by hand: mix the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky, about 10 minutes.
- Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.
- Shape the dough into a round (see p.48) and coat with a little extra oil. Leave to rise in a clean bowl, covered with a plastic bag. When it has doubled in size, tip it on to the work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking tray, measuring about 26 x 36cm. Press the dough in with your fingers, right into the corners. Now leave to rise, covered, for about half an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 10, or as high as it will go. When the bread looks puffed up and airy, use your fingertips to poke deep holes across the whole surface, almost to the bottom. Drizzle the top generously (but not swimmingly) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to about 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Focaccia is best eaten warm, but not hot; leave to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving, or leave to cool completely.
(original recipe from the River Cottage website)