Focaccia, known and loved in Italy and abroad, is a yeasted bread dough, often mixed or spread with oil, herbs, or onion, and ancient way of cooking bread dough quickly, possibly connected with offerings made by the Romans to the gods, liba… Early versions were cooked on the hearth of a hot fire, or on a heated tile or earthenware disk, like the related flatbreads. Many have an inventive range of flavourings, the olive oil, rosemary, garlic or onion of the schiacciata alla fiorentina of Tuscany, or the herbs, sage, rosemary, oregaon, onion, and ciccioli of the foccia genovese of Liguria.
Focaccia is a versatile bread indeed. Full of flavour & full of options. I used a highly rated ‘Rosemary Garlic Focaccia‘ recipe from Recipezaar; substituted the rosemary with fresh garlic & sliced onions, & added a portion of wholewheat flour too. The whole house smelt divine while the loaves were baking…absolute nirvana! We ate 2 loaves the first day with a chicken casserole, baked garlic potatoes, crumb fried fish & salad. The next day I made sandwiches with the 3rd loaf! I believe you can even top it & make it into a pizza! It’s got a lovely light & fresh crumb & keeps for 2-3 days at cool temperatures.
Redolent…in the rays of the setting sun
I saved some dough & plaited it into a braid… it’s been my dream for many years to plait a loaf of bread! Strange but true!! I used to drift through baking books wondering how such beautiful braided breads were possible. My first attempt wasn’t too bad as I made the plait from my mind; have since found out that I needed 4 strands & not 3 as I used! Until next time then…
The recipe as adapted from Recipezaar…
Yeast – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1 1/2 tsps
Flour – 4 cups
Wholewheat flour – 1/2 – 1 cup ( I substituted a bit of the flour with this)
Salt – 1 tsp
Olive oil – 3 tbsps
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Onion – 1 sliced
Garlic – 4-5 cloves / sliced
Roasted sesame seeds & poppy seeds
Sea salt – 1 1/2 tsp
- In a bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and 1 ¾ cups lukewarm water and proof yeast for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
Stir in 3 cups of flour + 1 cup of wheat flour, 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and the salt, adding as much of the remaining flour as necessary to form a soft and slightly sticky dough.
- Transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl, turn to coat, and let rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 hour, or until double in size.
Knead dough down and press with lightly-oiled hands into 2 well-oiled 8″ round sandwich loaf pans, saving some for a braided bread.
Make a braid with the remaining dough, tuck in the ends underneath & let them rise, covered loosely, for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set rack in center of oven.
Dimple dough with your fingers in places, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over and spread over dough; sprinkle with onions, basil, garlic and sea salt. I drizzled oil over the braided loaf & sprinkled sesame & poppy seeds all over it.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until pale golden.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
A loaf I’m quite proud of…
‘Breadbakingday‘ the monthly event was started by Zorra for passionate and to-be bread bakers, who bake bread and share recipes and experiences on the first day of every month. This month’s ‘Breadbakingday’ is hosted by someone who I’ve been in awe of for LONG…Susan @ Wild Yeast. She says…”As one of the oldest and most universal of foods, bread is associated with celebrations in every part of the world. For this month’s BreadBakingDay, you are invited to share your own spring holiday bread tradition, explore one you’re not yet familiar with, or start a new one. Choose any seasonal holiday or event you’d like to honor with a special bread.”
My new found freedom from yeastophobia is event enough to announce the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I’m gonna celebrate it with this braided loaf & am sending it off to Susan’s. I recommend you check out her blog & marvel at her ease with yeast…especially if you are yeastophobic like I was.