Sunday, 1 April 2012

olive and herb focaccia

Here's my recipe for olive and herb focaccia which appeared in my previous recipe post for 'tomato and mascarpone sauce'.

olive and herb focaccia
© Linda Edmonds (the cookery Angel)


(for dough)

450 grams strong white bread flour
300 mls hand hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
large pinch of salt

(focaccia toppings)

handful of olives of choice
snipped fresh herbs (ie: basil & parsley)
2 large  sautéed garlic cloves (see below)
tablespoon chopped sunblush tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
rock salt & freshly milled black pepper


Put the sugar into a medium sized bowl, add the hand hot water, sprinkle in the dried yeast and stir a few times.  Leave aside for about 10 minutes until very frothy.

Using a large bowl add flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil then stir mixture.

Sautéed garlic click here to see method

Once the yeast is frothy add to flour mixture and mix thoroughly.  Turn out on to a lightly floured worktop and knead for at least ten minutes (its a great exercise for upper arms!)  If the dough is a little dry just add a little tap water, if its too wet add extra flour.  (The weather conditions/humidity can affect how the flour acts).

When mixture is nice and smooth pop back into the bowl, add a little olive oil and smear over the dough.  Cover bowl loosely with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 

Take dough out of the bowl and on a lightly floured worktop knock out all the air by kneading for about a minute.

Roll out dough into an oval shape about 1 inch thick.  Lift dough and place on a lightly greased baking tray.  Leave uncovered for about 40 minutes until dough has risen.

About 15 minutes before baking bread pre-heat oven to gas mark 8, 450 F,  230 C.

This is the best part!!   Poke your index finger into dough to make holes for toppings, then pop olives, herbs, garlic &  sunblush tomatoes into holes.  Brush dough with the olive oil used to sauté the garlic then add rock salt & black pepper.

Put on highest shelf and bake for around 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.   Keep an eye on it as I find it cooks very quickly.  Remove from oven and put on a bread board.   Serve straight away.

I love to use it to mop up the pasta sauce.  Any left over bread can be reheated in oven and it's great with dipping oils such as extra virgin with chilli flakes and balsamic vinegar.

© Linda Edmonds (the cookery Angel)

Top tip:  

For yeast mixture, use water that has been used to cook pasta or rice as this will give a very light dough.  I  keep some in reserve in fridge (it keeps for a day or two).  Then heat in a pan or microwave.