Baking is really not my forte but I did want to share this handy bread recipe which may take a couple of attempts to perfect but once you get the hang of it you will keep coming back for more. It’s an excellent option when hosting tea meets or entertaining guests for dinner as an accompaniment with the meal. The focaccia bread serves as an excellent starter. Make sure that the dough is kneaded really well for atleast ten to fifteen minutes, once it’s fermented and doubles in size. This will ensure dough elasticity and gluten formation. When you get a crunchy texture on the top and a spongy, airy body below, you know you have got it right. The herbs and olive oil are an essential part of the focaccia bread and compliments the bread perfectly. Now, here is a tip for making this exciting for kids. Decorate the top of the bread with an array of veggies and herbs in colourful patterns almost like art-work. Kids love that. I often prepare a dip to go along with the focaccia bread. It’s a combination of olive oil, vinegar and Italian herbs. I decided to get out of my comfort zone to try our the focaccia bread recipe and so should you. Happy Fooding Around!
Fun times starts with this
Ingredients For the Dough :
- 2 ¼ Tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- ¼ cup lukewarm Water
- 3 cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 ½ Tsp Salt
Ingredients For The Toppings :
- 1 Tsp Dried Rosemary
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp Crushed Black Peppercorns
- ¼ Tsp Sea Salt
- Vegetables of your choice
- Proof the yeast by mixing yeast, sugar with lukewarm water. Stir and mix well. Let it rest for 5 – 10 mins and allow to foam up. If your yeast fails to foam up, pls discard the yeast and start all over again.
- In a large bowl add the flour, Italian herb seasoning, proofed yeast, olive oil and salt. First mix all the ingredients well and then slowly combine to make a dough.
If you have a stand mixer, you can use the dough hook to mix over a medium speed to form a smooth dough.
- Allow the dough to rest in the bowl. But before that brush oil to the bowl and the dough. Cover the bowl with a plastic cling wrap or some moist kitchen towel. Let it rise in a warm temperature or even inside your oven. Let the dough rise for 1 – 2 hours. You may even keep it overnight in the refrigerator. Just remember to take out of the refrigerator and bring the dough to room temperature 1 Hour before you start working on it.
- After the resting time is over the proofed dough should have doubled in size and should look all fluffy and airy. Now sprinkle your working surface with some all- purpose flour and transfer the dough from the bowl to the working surface.
- Knead the dough by stretching, pulling and punching. This kneading of the dough is of utmost importance as dough elasticity and gluten formation is enhanced by kneading. So knead the dough for a good 10 mins at least, else your final bread might turn out dense and heavy.
- Grease a 9 X9 inch baking tray. It’s even better to line your baking tray with a parchment paper (or a butter paper). Stretch the dough to fit the entire tray evenly. Cover again with plastic cling wrap or moist kitchen towel for about 45 mins to 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in size.
- Once doubled in size make some 15 -20 indents over the dough by using either your fingers or the back of a small spoon. The indents should give the dough a “dimpled” look.
- Pre-heat your oven to a 200 C or a 400 F.
- While the oven is heating, you can do some decorations on your dough bread. I have first seasoned it with some salt, black pepper and rosemary, before adding my own decorations using herbs and cut veggies like onion, bell pepper, olives, mushroom and chives.
- Bake the focaccia bread in the preheated oven for about 20 mins or until lightly browned and crispy on the top.
- Remove from the oven and brush some more olive oil is so desired.
- Let the freshly baked focaccia bread cool for 5 mins in the baking tray before you remove it to a cooling rack.
- Slice the bread and serve warm.
If your yeast fails to foam up, pls remember to discard the yeast and start all over again, else you will end up with a dense and sticky bread. I often serve the Focaccia Bread with a Dip mix of extra virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and a touch of Italian herb seasoning.
- Serving Size: 4