Focaccia

We made bread! It was not as difficult as we thought it would be! We were afraid the yeast would be fickle. But we followed Mr. Hollywood’s recipe very closely and nature did most of the work for us. We kept ours very straightforward, with just a sprinkling of dried herbs and chili, and served them with roasted garlic and tomatoes. But focaccia takes flavors very well, so you could easily add garlic, cheese, fruit or any flavor you think you would enjoy straight onto your unbaked loaves (but only after the second proving).

Oh, and here is a very helpful video of Paul Hollywood shaping focaccia dough.

We will make more bread in the future!

For the focaccia:
500g / 1lb 2oz strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
4 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml / 2 cups water, room temperature
2 tbsp dried herbs
1 tsp dried chili flaked

+ more olive oil for drizzling
+ sea salt/coarse salt for sprinkling

For the roasted garlic confit:
3 whole garlic cloves
a pinch of salt
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch dried chili flakes

For the honey roasted tomatoes:
6 large tomatoes, sliced
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried herbs
1/4 tsp salt

Make your bread. Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml/ 1 1/3 cups of the water into a large bowl. Stir gently with a hand, spatula or a wooden spoon to form the dough. Knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes while gradually adding the remaining water.

Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl. Tuck the sides into the center. Turn the bowl and repeat the process for about five minutes.

Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for another five minutes. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover the top with plastic wrap to keep from developing a thick skin. Leave it for an hour or until doubled in size. You can start working on your roasted garlic confit while waiting.

Line two round 9×2 inch cake tins or two 8x8x2 square baking pans baking sheets with baking paper. Brush the bottom with some olive oil and sprinkle with some salt.

Tip the risen dough out of the bowl. Divide into two portions. Flatten each portion onto your prepared tins. Push the dough evenly out to the corners of the pan. Leave to prove for another hour. You can get working on your honey roasted tomatoes while waiting.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.

Drizzle the loaves with oil. Push your fingers into the dough to create dimples. Sprinkle with sea salt, herbs and chili. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. When cooked, drizzle with a little more olive oil.

Make your roasted garlic confit. Preheat oven to 148°C/300°F Cut off the tops of three whole cloves of garlic. Place in a small baking or roasting pan. Pour enough olive to cover all the cloves. Season with some salt, pepper and a dash of dried chili flakes. Bake for an hour at or until cloves have become soft, fragrant and just slightly golden in color.

Make your honey roasted tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Lightly oil a roasting pan. Place tomato slices in the pan. Add oil, honey, salt and herbs. Combine well to season all the slices evenly. Roast for about 30 minutes or until slices are bubbling and juicy.

Have some bread. There’s nothing like freshly baked bread, so serve your slices hot or warm right out of the oven. But if you want to have some later, simply wrap the bread in foil or cling film and store in the freezer. Pop it in the oven for a quick reheat and enjoy. Have it with your roasted garlic and tomatoes, with a nice creamy cheese or just some more olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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