Baking is extremely addictive. Once you start baking at home and start getting some success, you feel you want to bake some more and more and more. I can never explain how awesome it feels every time you bite a homemade bread you baked yourself. There was a time I couldn't even dare to think about making a pizza at home. But things turned around once I gathered courage and tried my hand at it. Now, I try to make the regular snacks at home, be it the pull apart bread, a cupcake or a focaccia. Yep, a focaccia is a new addition to my baking list. I baked one today.
Focaccia is very easy and simple to make at home. So, if you are still waiting to try your hand on baking, specially a bread at home, try this. If you look at the total time it needs, it may sound quite a lot but that's mostly for rising the dough. You can watch a movie or can finish your other chores in between.
If you ask me what is Focaccia, then my answer will be "A flat Italian bread traditionally flavored with olive oil and salt and often topped with herbs, onion or other ingredients".
The style and texture of a focaccia dough is very similar to the pizza dough. The dough has the basic ingredients, flour, yeast, oil, salt and water. the dough is rolled by pressing with hand and baked in oven.
As I made two focaccias, I used different toppings on each of them. One with black olives, red peppers, garlic and cheddar cheese, and the other one with jalapeno and monterey jack cheese. Both the breads were flavored with dried parsley. You can use any topping and any herb of your choice.
Things needed to make Focaccia:
- Bread flour: 3 cups(divided)
- Active dry Yeast: 2 and 1/4 tsp (or a sachet)
- Warm water: 1 cup
- Sugar: 1 tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Olive oil: 4-5 tbsp(divided)
- Dried parsley*: 2 tbsp
- Cheese of your choice
- Olive, red bell pepper, garlic as per your choice of topping
(*You can always use fresh herbs)
Steps of making Focaccia:
1. Take the warm water(55-60C), yeast, sugar in a large bowl, mix well. Cover and wait for 10 min.
2. Add 1 cup of flour, salt, dried parsley(or whatever herb you are using) and 2 tbsp olive oil to the yeast mixture, mix well with a spatula. It will look like a batter. Gradually add another cup of flour, keep mixing(if you have a stand mixer use the dough hook).
3. Dust the working surface with flour, transfer the dough to the floured surface. Dust your palm with flour too. And knead the dough. Keep dusting the surface and the palm with flour as needed(I used the last cup of flour for kneading). For kneading, hold the dough with your left hand(non working hand) and with the heel of your right hand(working hand) stretch it away from you. Fold the dough back. Rotate the dough 90 degree. Again stretch it away from you, fold...repeat. Knead the dough for 10-12 min. By then it will be smooth and won't stick your hand.
4. grease a large bowl with oil, put the dough in the greased bowl, cover and keep in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 1-2 hrs.
5. By this time the dough should be double in size. Punch down the dough. With a scrapper or knife divide the dough into two equal halves. You can wrap one half with cling film and store in the refrigerator for latter use.
6. Take a 9 inch round baking tray, grease the tray. Press down the dough to spread evenly on the tray. Cover the pan and let the dough rise for 30-40 mins.
7. While the dough is rising prepare the toppings. I used red bell pepper, cheddar cheese, black olives and garlic for one and jalapeno and monterey jack cheese for the other one.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 400F/ 200C.
9. After 30-40 min the dough should be double in size. Poke the dough with your finger.
10. Brush the dough with olive oil.
12. Carefully take out the bread from pan and let it cool down on a cooling rack.
Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the bread, serve warm.
I made two focaccia breads, one with jalapeno topping and the other one with black olives, red bell pepper, cheese topping.
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