Easy Focaccia

There is something to be said for making your own bread and this aromatic and delicious Easy Focaccia loaf allows you to experience the joys of bread baking therapy!

While I usually stick to sourdough bread and spelt flour, this bread is made with bread flour, which has a higher gluten content and for those who don't have gluten issues once in a while pulling out this herb-filled dough of deliciousness is a treat to enjoy!

It took me some trial and error to get this recipe right. My first attempt turned out more like a loaf of bread - delicious but far too tall and round. It was also missing that distinctive punch of herbs that I look for in good focaccia. So I made another attempt which also didn't quite go to plan as my sun-dried tomatoes ended up looking like dried prunes! So, attempt three saw me add fresh tomato and herbs as well as a generous slather of garlic-infused olive oil and voila - success!


MY TIPS

  • Incorporate your favourite dry herbs into your dough for more flavour!

  • Folding the dough at the end results in much more authentic focaccia - it is explained in the instructions below

  • Grease your dough hook with a little oil before using it. This will ensure the dough is easy to remove from the hook once you have finished the kneading process

  • If it's a pleasant sunny day I always keep my bowls and trays outside to get a good rise from my dough. If it's not hot outside, keep it near a heater or turn your oven to the lowest setting and allow it to warm up and then turn off and allow your dough to rise in the oven with the residual heat.

  • This bread has a lot of flavour so would make great toasted sandwiches with your favourite fillings too

  • To easily remove the thyme leaves from their little branches just take your finger and gently push up the branch in the opposite direction of growth to break them off, if the branch is really fine and fresh, it is fine to chop up and pop on top too


YOU WILL NEED

Bread

1 + 1/4 cups warm water

2 teaspoons dried yeast

2 + 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups + extra if needed (the freshness of your flour will affect how much you will need)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary


1 tomato sliced


Topping

50ml olive oil

1 garlic clove grated

Fresh thyme or rosemary (leaves only)

Some sliced tomatoes or olives (optional)

METHOD


Stand Mixer Method

  1. In a small jug combine the warm water, yeast and caster sugar, stir to combine cover and set aside in a warm area for 10 minutes or until nice and foamy.

  2. Add the flour, oil, salt, garlic powder, dried basil, dried thyme and dried rosemary to your mixing bowl.

  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture once ready and using the dough hook attachment knead at medium speed until the dough comes together into a ball and continue to knead until smooth and elastic. This will take up to 5 minutes.

  4. NOTE: if the dough seems too wet and sticky and does not come into a ball easily during this process add small amounts of flour - no more than 1/8 of a cup at a time until the dough comes together into a ball and then continue to knead until smooth and elastic. If the dough seems too dry add small amounts of tepid water (around 1 tablespoon at a time) until the dough comes together into a ball and then continue to knead until smooth and elastic.

  5. Grease a large mixing bowl with some olive oil and place the ball of dough in, smear with a light coating of olive oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm place for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles the size.

  6. After 45 minutes turn out the dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface and "punch" the dough with your fist to knock the air out.

  7. Knead for a minute or two until it reduces back to its original size.

  8. Place the dough into a baking tray/dish ((34cm x 22cm /13" x 9") greased with a little more olive oil and stretch the dough until it is approximately 2cm/1/2" thick. Use clean fingers or your knuckles to make dimples in the dough and then cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for another 20/30 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.

Topping

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.

  2. Place sliced tomatoes/olives if using over the dough.

  3. In a small bowl add the olive oil and garlic and mix to combine. Brush the mixture all over the bread and tomatoes.

  4. Add the extra thyme and rosemary if using and push in a little if needed to secure in place.

Bake

  1. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden.

  2. Serve sliced warm or at room temperature. Best eaten warm the same day.


Hand Made Method


  1. In a small jug combine the warm water, yeast and caster sugar, stir to combine cover and set aside in a warm area for 10 minutes or until nice and foamy.

  2. Add the flour, oil, salt, garlic powder, dried basil, dried thyme and dried rosemary to a large mixing bowl.

  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and using a spatula or wooden spoon mix together. Once the dough has roughly come together turn out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic.

  4. NOTE: if the dough seems too wet and sticky and does not come into a ball easily during this process add small amounts of flour - no more than 1/8 of a cup at a time until the dough comes together into a ball and then continue to knead until smooth and elastic. If the dough seems too dry add small amounts of tepid water (around 1 tablespoon at a time) until the dough comes together into a ball and then continue to knead until smooth and elastic.

  5. Grease a large mixing bowl with some olive oil and place the ball of dough in, smear with a light coating of olive oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm place for 45 minutes OR until the dough doubles the size.

  6. After 45 minutes turn out the dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface and "punch" the dough with your fist to knock the air out.

  7. Knead for a minute or two until it reduces back to its original size.

  8. Place the dough into a baking tray/dish ((34cm x 22cm /13" x 9") greased with a little more olive oil and stretch the dough until it is approximately 2cm/1/2" thick. Use clean fingers or your knuckles to make dimples in the dough and then cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for another 20/30 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.

Topping

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.

  2. Place sliced tomatoes over the dough.

  3. In a small bowl add the olive oil and garlic and mix to combine. Brush the mixture all over the bread and tomatoes.

  4. Add the extra thyme and rosemary if using and push in a little if needed to secure in place.

Bake

  1. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden.

  2. Serve sliced warm or at room temperature. Best eaten warm the same day.


MAKES 6 GENEROUS PIECES




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