Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Foccacia

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2 cups white flour
3/4 cup water (about 200 ml) (warm, but not uncomfortable, to the touch)
7 g active dried yeast (1 typical packet)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
half a cup chopped olives (cans black, kalamata, green)
Sea salt (optional) and fresh rosemary to garnish

Mix the sugar and yeast into half of the water, then leave to sit for 5-10 mins, until it looks foamy and smells of yeast.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the yeasty water and add 2 tbsp (half) of the oil. Mix everything up into a dough, adding the rest of the water. You may need to add more water to get the right consistency; there should be no dry bits, but it should form a proper ball that is not excessively sticky.

Knead the dough for about 10 mins, until it feels smooth and elastic. Be tough with it; fold it over and punch and slap with both hands to knead. If it keeps sticking to your hands, it is too wet. Add more flour to your kneading surface, to dry it off. Near the end of the kneading process, fold in the chopped olives.

Let the dough rest for 5 mins, while you oil the tray that you are going to use.

Form the dough out into a rough rectangle just over 2 cm (about an inch) thick.

Put the dough on the oiled tray, cover (a damp towel is ideal), then put in a warm place to rise for about an hour, until it doubles in size. It should feel soft and pillow-like.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F

Use your finger to make evenly-spaced dimples in the dough, then insert a sprig of rosemary into each one. Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if using.

Bake the loaf for 25 mins, until it is golden brown all over. Ideally, remove from the tray after 20 mins and bake again directly on the oven shelf for 5 mins, to brown the bottom. Don't bother if its too much trouble.

Next time am going to add cloves of garlic to make a garlic foccacia.

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