So my bread making project has kinda been put on hold but am hoping to get back on track now! Last weekend my sister flew home for the weekend & we went out for a gorgeous lunch in Nude Food in Dungarvan, she had Chicken Cornation Salad while I got a monster sized portion of slow cooked pork belly with couscous & hummus – it was AMAZING. I even brought home some of the pork belly I was so stuffed after it, alas I forgot to take some pictures but I will go back again soon & report. The atmosphere was great, there was a live jazz band playing in the corner.
In the afternoon we decided to hit the kitchen & make some yummy Focaccia Bread for supper. After watching Hugh @ River Cottage rustle this up in Dec on the River Cottage Everyday prog I decided to give it a shout, I had reviewed a few recipes for focaccia and some chefs add a little mashed potato to the mixture, which seems a little odd to me. I think Focaccia Bread is one of those breads that you can bring with you for lunch, in a picnic or nibble on as a starter while waiting for dinner! I believe good olive oil is the key ingredient when making italian style focaccia. We made two types of focaccia, the first was Rosemary & sun dried tomatoes & second which was my favourite was Rosemary & garlic…yummy. (the photos don’t do them justice!)
2½ tsps dried yeast (or 1x7g sachet)
1 tbsp sugar
450ml lukewarm water (more if required)
700g Italian ‘00’ or strong white flour
2 tsps salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large sprig rosemary
1 Mix the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water and allow the yeast to activate. When the yeast is frothy, it’s ready to use.
2 Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt, olive oil and yeast mixture. Mix to a soft dough, adding more flour or water as required. Knead until the dough is very pliable, which should take about seven to 10 minutes by hand.
3 Leave the dough to rise in a well-oiled bowl covered with clingfilm until the dough has trebled in size and is springy to the touch, which will take two to three hours. This will rise best in a warm, draught-free place, eg a hot press or near a cooker or oven.
4 When it has risen, knock the dough back and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead it again by hand for two to three minutes. Then divide the dough into two pieces and roll or press them out until the dough is 1cm thick.
5 Place the pieces on to two oiled baking sheets. Flatten the dough and push it into all four corners of the sheet, then make indentations with your fingertips. Drizzle the surface with olive oil, pull the leaves from the rosemary sprig and scatter them, along with the sea salt, on top of the dough. Allow the dough to rise again for 30-45 minutes in a warm place.
6 Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 230°C. Bake for five minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C and bake for a further 10 minutes.