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 a bit. Spread it in your baking dish, let it rest an hour. Top it, let it rest while your oven heats up. So all you 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.
So if you have never made bread or focaccia. Try this one, you will love it.
600g warm water
2 teaspoons honey
25g olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
10g dried yeast
730g bread flour
3-4 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary
250g 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 the 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 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 for 20 minutes.
Release the dough from the side of the bowl, using a damp hand. This will deflate it.
Perform a set of stretch and folds on the dough. To do this, wet your hands, then take a section of the dough furthest from you and stretch it up and fold it onto itself towards you. Rotate the bowl 90° and repeat the process. You need to do a total of 12 stretch and folds. You will get the dough roughly shaped like a ball. Cover the bowl and rest on your counter for 45 minutes.
Prepare a 33cm x 22cm baking tin, by spraying with cooking oil and lining it with baking paper. Place 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in the centre of your dish.
Place dough in your prepared pan, oiled hands help here. Roll the dough ball in the oil to coat it all over, forming a rough ball. fold it twice, rotate 90 degrees, so that the rectangle shape matches your baking dish, then flip over, fold side down, stretch it out slightly from underneath. Let the dough rest for about an hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan forced.
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, if it hasn't leave it a while longer. 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.
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