If you have never made bread, but always wanted to, this is the perfect recipe to start with.
My two older kids and husband were out on boxing day and wouldn't be home for dinner, so I asked my youngest what he wanted for dinner and he asked if I could make a tomato focaccia. Now I already make a thin and crisp focaccia, but this time I felt like a thick and fluffy one. So I went looking for a recipe and I came about this one, I thought, it looks easy, I have the time, so I went with it.
This is delicious, hands down, my favourite focaccia. The middle is soft and fluffy and the edges are crisp and crunchy. The tomatoes on top are fabulous. I added on garlic and rosemary as we love it on focaccia. My son and I couldn't stop eating it. In the meantime, my husband came home, tried it and loved it to. The next day I baked another one and my two other kids, and my sons Italian girlfriend loved it also.
This recipe is literally mix a few ingredients in a bowl, let it rest for 2 hours. Spread it in your baking dish, let it rest an hour. Top it, let it rest while your oven heats up. So all really need, is time here.
I think this will become by Sunday bread, when there is no bread in the house and I just don't want to go to the shops, this can be made. Take off the tomatoes or leave them on, change what I put on top, and it's different bread. I will try it with olives, or a combination of olives and tomatoes. The original recipe suggests shallots on top to, I think I'd like that.
Now I prefer to use baking paper here, as my first one stuck a little. So that just eliminates that ever happening.
For those like me that don't like honey, you can't taste it, but you can use sugar if you prefer.
My baking tin is the size mentioned below, I wouldn't go smaller, it will be too thick. But if only had larger, you probably could, your focaccia will just be thinner. But trust me, buy the right tin, you will make this again and again.
Buy a great olive oil here, it will make the difference. Supermarkets always have half price sales on olive oils, buy the expensive one when it's half price, it's worth it.
This bread rises very high, so make sure you use an extra large bowl. You may find you don't need the whole two hours in the first step, if it is very warm where you are.
1 cup in Australia is 250ml
1 tablespoon is 20ml
1 teaspoon 5ml
So if you have never made bread or focaccia. Try this one, you will love it.
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tablespoon dried yeast
4¼ cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
3-4 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Sea salt flakes, for topping, to taste
In an extra large bowl, add the honey, yeast and olive oil. Add 2 cups of warm water, stir and let the mixture sit for 3-5 minutes, or until it starts to froth up a little.
Add flour and salt to the wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones with a wooden spoon. Mix the dough with a wooden spoon as much as you can and then using a wet hand, continue to mix the dough until all the ingredients look mixed together, and a wet dough has formed, it takes about 30 seconds.
Leave the dough in the bowl and cover it with cling film and also with a tea towel. Place the dough in a warm spot to proof for 2 hours.
During the two hours the dough should double in size. The dough will reach a peak and then start to fall. If your dough is proofing in a particularly warm home, it may take less than 2 hours to proof. If your dough is proofing faster than 2 hours, you can move on to the next step earlier.
Prepare a 33cm x 22cm baking tin, by spraying with cooking oil and lining it with baking paper. If you have a great non stick pan, you don't need the baking paper, but mine is old and my first focaccia stuck to it, so I line it with baking paper.
After the first proof, pour a generous amount of olive oil to coat the bottom and up the sides of your prepared baking pan. By generous I mean, it needs to be nicely oiled, or your dough will stick if you don't use baking paper, and even if you do use baking paper, the oil helps with crisping up the outside of your focaccia.
Grab the dough out of the bowl with one hand and pour into the baking pan.
Now again using wet hands, gently spread the dough out to cover the base of your pan. Cover the dough with a damp tea towel again and proof for another hour.
In the meantime, chop up your garlic and rosemary, place in a bowl and top with olive oil, to cover. You will need about 1/4 cup oil here.
After the hour is up, the dough should have expanded to fill the metal pan and it should have fluffed up. This dough now is so beautiful, now using your fingers make dimples in the dough with your finger tips. Be sure to press all the way to the bottom of the pan with your finger tips and make uniform dimples.
Drizzle over your garlic and rosemary mix, make sure the oil goes all over the focaccia and into the dimples.
Take the cherry tomato halves and press them into the top of the dough. Be sure to press down on them enough that they stick into the dough during baking. Top the whole thing with some sea salt flakes. This is to taste, but you want the whole focaccia to get a little of the flakes, at least a tablespoon is needed.
Allow the dough to proof once more, this time uncovered, for about 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 245C/225C fan forced. (I bake mine fan forced).
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