At the weekend we made our first ever bread! It was a very exciting moment in the Parslow/Price residence. We had the idea of making a sausage and bean stew for dinner, so decided to make a focaccia bread to go with it. We followed a very easy recipe that we found online, and it turned out perfectly! Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time waiting for the dough to prove… 2.5 hours in fact. So this is probably a recipe you’d want to try at a weekend when you have no plans.
The recipe can be found here on thekitchn.com, but I will explain below exactly how we made ours. It’s an American recipe, so the quantities are in cups.
Ingredients (makes a large bread!)
1 sachet of yeast (this can be found in most supermarkets, next to the flour)
1 3/4 cups warm water
4 cups strong white bread flour
2 tsps salt
4 1/2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
Several pinches of salt
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine. Add the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pulse until a rough ball of dough forms.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl. It should be moist, but not too sticky. Form it into a ball.
3. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a large bowl. Put the ball of dough in the bowl and move it around, so that it’s coated in the oil. Cover with a tea towel and place it in a warm place to double in size (about 2 hours).
4. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil over a baking tray, and rub it all over to cover the tray. Punch down the dough and using your fingertips, coax and stretch the dough to cover the tray. It may not reach all the way to the edges. Cover with a tea towel again and leave for another 30-40 minutes.
5. While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 230 degrees. Sprinkle thyme over the dough, and season with salt. Using your finger tips, gently dimple the dough. Drizzle about another 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the loaf.
6. Place in the over for 20 -25 minutes. Immediately turn down the heat to 170 degrees. Check on it after 15 minutes to make sure it is browning nicely. The focaccia will be ready when it is golden brown all over.
7. Once the bread is ready, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. Focaccia is best eaten when warm. We of course didn’t eat all of this in one go. So we’ve sliced the rest, frozen it and will gently reheat it a little with a sprinkle of water in the oven, when we next want it.
If you’re more daring, you could add a variety of different toppings to your focaccia – olive, tomatoes, red onion, rosemary, basil!
P.S The sausage and bean stew recipe will be on the blog next week 🙂