Thursday, 18 April 2013

Focaccia recipe

You will need: 
500g strong white flour 
7g sachet of dried yeast
80ml extra virgin olive oil
400ml lukewarm water
pinch of salt
good pinch of sea salt
few more drizzles of extra virgin olive oil

Mix the flour, yeast, salt, oil, and 300ml of the water in a large bowl and bring together to form a dough. Knead in the bowl for a few minutes, gradually incorporating the last 100ml of water (the more water you can get in the lighter the crumb will be).

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. It is ready when if you press a finger gently into tit, the indentation springs back - if it stays pressed in, knead for a few more minutes.

Lightly oil (normal olive oil will do for this, or even vegetable oil) and put in a tea-towel covered bowl. Leave in a warm place for about 1 and half hours until doubled in size.

Once it has doubled in size, gently knock it back by pressing it lightly with your fingers, then knead gently for a minute or two. Divide into two equal balls. You can either shape them into two rounds, sprinkle with oil and sea salt and bake, or you can make them into a sandwich with delicious things inside! I always do it this way.

Shape the first ball into a large round, then add the fillings. I use a torn up mozzarella, some sun-dried tomatoes chopped up, some olives, a few splashes of pesto, maybe some salami. It's quite nice with Gruyère cheese, or some ham and basil leaves, or halved cherry tomatoes - basically you can go wild with anything you like!

Then shape the second ball into a round and press it down onto the first round and fillings. Then press your finger all over it, drizzle with more oil and scatter with sea salt. Leave this somewhere really warm for about 40 minutes to prove. The longer you leave it the fluffier the crumb will be. I like to leave it near the oven with the oven on low. Now is a good time to preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (200 degrees).

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top (I turn it halfway through, and also turn the oven down to gas mark 6 / 180 degrees). Turn onto a cooling rack and drizzle with (yet more) extra virgin olive oil. It's lovely still warm, but will keep until the day after. 

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