When opening a new recipe book I usually go straight to the meat dishes, but now I find myself going straight for the bread recipes. I recently received a gift of a new recipe book and it had a lovely simple recipe for Focaccia so I thought it was only right to give it a go. It was the first time I had made flat bread as so far I have mainly focused on loaves.
Focaccia which most associate with Italy, though some believe it dates back to the Romans, is the early version of pizza. The notion behind it is to dent the dough – before baking it – with a fork or your fingers to retain the moisture and to stop it rising too much in the oven. Once it has been shaped and dented, you brush it over with olive oil and sprinkle over salt.
It was an easy mixture to make, using olive oil as the fat. I decided that I wanted to make it flavoured rather than plain. I made three different flavours, rosemary, olive and sundried tomatoes. All of these were added after the first prove before shaping. The rosemary ones were the most successful as the rosemary leaves were dry and their flavour is very inviting and works so well with bread.
I made the mistake of trying to mix the olive and sun dried tomato into the dough, but they were too wet and made the dough sticky. Have made the focaccias I was looking at another recipe book that had a recipe for focaccia, and it suggested that you should put fillings on top or put them on one half of the mixture and fold it over so the filling ends up in the middle. I am sure I will make these again and will try these methods so hopefully they will turn out a bit better.
Fresh out of the oven they tasted great, yummy aromas filled the kitchen. My favourite was the rosemary and my least favourite was the sundried tomatoes, which was probably more to do with my individual taste buds. My family were only too happy to try them, and I think they also enjoyed the rosemary ones more. If I take bread to work, I usually freeze them and take them out early in the morning so they keep their freshness. However this time I made them so late at night, I didn’t think it was worth freezing them. It was interesting to note, that the Focaccias didn’t stay as fresh as other breads that I have made. The crust seemed to have lost its crunchiness though the middle was still soft and fluffy. I actually didn’t get many comments back about them, as my colleagues seemed too busy eating them, which makes me think they couldn’t have been that bad.
- When incorporating wet fillings, roll out the dough and spread half the filling on one side and then fold it over. Alternatively put the filling on the top.
- Be careful with the amount of salt you put on top… I may have put too much.