Rosemary, Roasted Garlic, Olive and Sea Salt Focaccia Bread
As you would have most probably tasted this beauty before I don't have to tell you how awesome this bread is accompanied by the 4 usual suspects that will get you reaching for your favourite bottle of wine to wet your whistle.
Upon visiting my Father, we'd sit down for lunch and what was meant to be a meeting of light sustenance and refreshment. But once the bread was out, the wine open and along with secret contraband our feather weight catch-up would rapidly turn into a heavy weight with accompaniments out of his larder making an unexpected arrival of more olives, anchovies, smoked mackerel, pickled lemons, cheese, more bread, a little more wine...and the conversation would veer off and wander to where he would be the Captain of a Schooner and I running the country. Well our lunch...it's now dark...
So I'm back in the room now, so I'll tell you how to make the bloomin Focaccia. Remember just stay relaxed about baking in your oven...all measures can be approximate and it will probably come out a little wonkey on your first try. Just get to know how your oven and fire work together...practice makes perfect. So if this is your first go at baking focaccia bread in your oven I'd make double. If you are better than you thought you can always freeze the second try.
- 1 x Cheapoutdooroven (remembering 'cheap' isn't a swear word).
- 2 tsp of fresh Yeast or 1 ½ tsp active dry Yeast.
- 230ish ml or ½ pint of warm warm water.
- 500 g strong white bread flour – make sure you have extra for dusting.
- 1½ tsp skinny salt (table salt).
- 3 lrg gloves of roasted garlic (or according to taste).
- 4 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – again, you'll need extra for drizzling over top and greasing tin/dish.
- Aprox 2 tsp Fat salt (Coarse Sea Salt).
- Sprigs of Rosemary.
- Pitted Olives for topping (I recommend Kalamata olives).
- Dissolve your yeast into the warm water, this should take a few minutes but don't stir it or agitate until it has dissolved.
- Pour your flour into a bowl and add the skinny salt. Then making a well in the centre, slowly pour in the olive oil and yeasty water... Pour , stir, pour...Keep mixing until the dough is of a smoothish and sticky consistency.
- Turn out your dough on to a floured, clean and dry surface. Then knead the dough for approx 10 minutes...keep dusting with flour if you need to. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, slightly elastic and does not stick to your hands. Or until you need not knead no more.
- Oil the inside of a large bowl, then gently place your dough into it and cover with cling film. Oil the underside of the cling film too as this can stick to the dough as well. Set aside somewhere warm for around 1 ½ hours. Remember the dough will double in size, so make sure your bowl is large enough to cater for this.
- Well oil a large flat bottomed dish. Stretch and knead your dough out in the bottom of the dish and push into the corners, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest and rise for a further 25 minutes.
- Unveil your beautiful bread from the tea towel...it's time for the final flourish...
- Now poke your dough. With fingers outstretched, push your fingertips deep into the dough to make "covinhas" (dimples in Portuguese). This will give you the classic focaccia appearance to the bread. Push the olives along with wee rosemary sprigs deep into the dimples to stop them popping out when the dough rises. Drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cover once more with damp tea towel to rest and rise for around 45 minutes.
- Place your focaccia in your outdoor oven for 35-45 minutes or until the focaccia is crusty on top and cooked through. You can cover with foil if the top looks like it's looking a wee bit singed too quickly.
Quick reference for the above method:
- Yeast + warm water combine and dissolve.
- Flour in bowl + table salt. Make well in flour and slowly mix water/yeast and olive oil. Mix, pour, mix, pour...until sticky ball.
- Put dough on floured surface and knead for approx. 10 mins. Until smooth, elasticy and not sticky to touch.
- Oil large bowl and put dough inside. Cover with cling film and place in warm place for 1 ½ hrs.
- Oil large dish. Stretch dough out to cover bottom of dish. Cover with damp towel. Leave to rest and rise for 25 mins.
- Poke deep dimples in surface of dough...(evenly placed). Now dress the dough with olives, rosemary, sea salt and olive oil. Cover with towel, leave to rest and rise for 45 mins.
- Put in outdoor oven for around 35-45 mins. Check every now and then for singed edges or top. Place a foil hat on top to stop browning too quick.
Dah daah! You're done!