Well, we are a little late to the game for #RealBreadWeek but nonetheless, we will join the pack with our tried and tested focaccia recipe!
This is one of the best bread recipes we have, for simplicity and tastiness combined in such a way, it will become such a regular addition to your recipe favourites.
We first started making Focaccia about 5 years ago and many times we have gotten it completely wrong, unseasoned, burnt, over-proofed through our own arrogance of thinking we knew best how to make it. After some thorough research and a chat with an old Italian colleague, we’ve finalized the recipe for our tomato and basil Focaccia so you don’t have to make the mistakes that we have made in the past.
2 h 30 min prep
Ingredients for TOMATO GARLIC AND BASIL FOCACCIA:
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BREAD
- 500g type ‘00’ flour or strong bread flour if you don’t have
- 1 sachet of dry yeast or 20g fresh yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp pink salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 300ml warm water (men’s shower temperature) not too hot so you don’t kill the yeast
INGREDIENTS FOR THE GARNISH/BAKING:
- 1 handful of fresh basil (2 tbsp of dry)
- 1 tbsp rock salt
- 4 cloves of garlic peeled
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 5 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 tbsp of breadcrumbs
- Mix the warm water, 1 tbsp of olive oil (save the other half), sugar and salt together in a jug and let sit for a minute or two until you can see it bubbling, which means the yeast is activated. If this does not happen after 5 minutes, it means the water is too hot or too cold, so mix a fresh batch ensuring that the temperature is just above body temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt together with your fingers, slowly adding the water-yeast mixture until you have a soft and slightly sticky dough.
- Flour a large flat surface to knead the dough and flour your hands too. Work the dough and keep folding and pressing the dough until you have a smooth consistent dough. Be careful not to add too much flour when kneading the dough. Continue this for about 5 minutes until completely smooth and soft.
- Add the last tbsp of olive oil and work for another 30 seconds and place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a warm damp cloth and leave it to rise for an hour.
- In the meantime, in a blender, add the basil garlic, pine nuts and the olive oil and blitz for 10 seconds until mixed well.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and drizzle a little olive oil over the dough. Collapse the dough and stretch to a rectangle about 1 cm thick and fold the short edges into the middle of the dough in 2 places and repeat, ensuring that the oil is greasing up the dough nicely.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto the base of a greased up baking tray with a sprinkle of salt too, roughly 20 cm by 12-15 cm, and press it and stretch it to the edges of the pan. Pushing with your fingertips, create craters all across the surface of the dough until it looks like a rough sea. Cover the dough once again for a further 45 minutes to an hour and leave in a warm place to rise.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade.
- Once the dough has risen, cover this with your basil oil and the remainder of the rock salt (don’t be shy to add a little more than the recipe states) and lightly press in the halves of tomato, being careful not to collapse the dough. Once the dough is thoroughly coated in oil and basil, lightly place it into the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
- To check that it is cooked if you are unsure, tap on the dough with the back of a spoon or your fingertips and it should sound hollow inside and be crunchy on the outside, not spongy, then you know it is ready.
- Take the bread out onto a cooling rack and drizzle with more olive oil to really get the final crunch.
Serve with some olive oil and balsamic, or use it to make sandwiches, we don’t really care as long as you enjoy it. It freezes really well for up to 3 months so there is no excuse to waste this lovely bread.
We were more generous with the salt than the recipe states and we really enjoyed the final product!
Let us know what you think, you know where to find us and post your pictures.
Do you want to try our other Italian dishes? Yes! Here you will find a selection of various recipes from Italian cuisine.