Lazy weekend days are made for casual lunches, with great slabs of warm fresh bread, along with good olive oil for dipping, and maybe some home-made hummus. That’s why I try to drag myself out of bed by 10 am, it gives me just enough time to make focaccia bread for lunch.
Focaccia is so easy to make.
It’s super forgiving because it is supposed to be flattish, and dense, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t knead the dough perfectly, or if you don’t have time to get a really good long first rise. Sometimes I even skip the second rise all together and it still turns out ok.
The other great thing about focaccia is that it goes with everything. It’s great with all kinds of dip, you can slice it down the centre and make sandwiches, and it’s fab dunked in soup or to soak up the last skericks of that yummy pasta sauce.
You can mix all kinds of things right into the dough if you like – olives, fresh herbs, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, – or press them into the top of the dough before the second rise. But regardless of what you add to it, you always need to brush it with lots of really good, extra virgin, olive oil, right before it goes into the oven!
- 250 ml of warm water
- 2 1/2 tsp of yeast
- 1 tsp of sugar/honey
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- 500 gms of flour ( we use half wholemeal,half white bread flour)
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- extra olive oil for brushing
- extras to add in or put on the top – herbs, pesto, olives, sundried tomato etc
- Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and set it aside for a few minutes. When the yeast mixture becomes frothy you know your yeast is away and ready to use.
- If using a bread machine – combine the flour and salt and any extras such as herbs. Depending on the instructions for your bread machine, put the yeast mixture in first, then add the flour mixture. Set your machine to the dough setting and all the machine to mix, knead and rise the dough. Check at the end of the mixing to make sure you don’t need to add a touch more water.
- If mixing by hand – combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture. Gentled combine the flour with the wet mix until you have a rough dough, add a touch more water if needed. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead well for five minutes,. Place in a greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and place in a warm positions to rise for approx 1- 1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and give it a quick knead to knock the air out of it.
- Roll it out into a rough oval (or split in two if you don’t have a large enough tray) approx 3 cms thick depending on how think you want your final bread to be. If you are adding extras to the top of your bread now is the time to arrange them nicely.
- Line a large tray with baking paper and pope the rolled out dough onto the tray. Cover with a tea towel and set it aside in a warm place to rise a little more for approx 15-30 minutes.
- Once the dough has risen one last time, brush it with lots of lovely olive oil and sprinkle it with herbs of our choice.
- Preheat your oven to 220 Celsius.
- Bake the focaccia in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes or util the bread is golden brown on the top.
You can free the foccacia dough in half batches before the second rise, and all you need to do is remember to put it in the fridge the night before to defrost, and start at the rolling out stage. That makes it a super easy, super quick, way to make fresh bread.
This bread will turn out fancy enough to impress your friends, and simple enough to just scoff the lot with the kids.