Hiya.. I was back this monday from my vacation, but was still in the holiday mood so did not get much cooking done. Our trip was wonderful, even though the weather did not really help much we made the most of it. I got my dose of laughter to last me for a while, thanks to our friend Shomu. We visited the Roman Baths, the pretty town of Oxford, Swansea & Cardiff .. 🙂 If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen some of the pictures I posted.
Its getting chillier & its made me laze.. that’s the reason you have not seen a post from me..! I was really craving for some Focaccia last evening. I did the digging bit, found a perfect recipe. Made up my mind to get it done using some wholemeal flour, (guilt from all the calories I gobbled up during the vacation).. But nah.. I just could not get my stubborn butt to move & get the focaccia done & the lazy me kept wishing I had a twin sister who would get it done..! If wishes were horses huh!!
My love for Focaccia developed along with K.Back during the days when we were dating, we used to visit this particular Italian Bistro. They did not have an elaborate menu. They just had a few things to nibble on with your coffee & some salads, Panini’s along with some cakes. We tried focaccia & fell in love with it. I have meaning to bake a similar focaccia we used to eat back there, but then the store did not have aubergine which I very much-needed for it.
This recipe is adapted from http://www.inspiredtaste.net. I made a few modifications to suit my taste. The focaccia I baked looks more brownish rather than golden brown because I used plain wholemeal. Go ahead & substitute it with all-purpose flour if you wish.
Ingredients: (Serves 6-8) Preparation Time: 150 mins
Plain Wholemeal flour – 350 gms
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Lemon thyme – 1 tsp, dried, you can use 1 tbsp of fresh thyme if you have it
Rosemary – 1 tsp, dried, again use 1 tbsp if you have fresh rosemary
Active dry yeast – 1 sachet
Honey – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper – 1/4 tsp freshly ground,
Warm water – 230 ml
Plain Olive oil – 110 ml
Salt – 1 tsp
In a saucepan, mix the olive oil, rosemary, lemon thyme, black pepper & minced garlic. Heat the oil mixture over low heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the garlic does not change colour. Turn off the heat & let the mixture cool. The aroma is wonderful. The best part about this focaccia is you infuse olive oil with the flavours you want & you do not need to hunt stores for infused olive oil.
Just look at the colours.. its tempting already isn’t it? I could not wait for the finished focaccia. What a pity K wasn’t at home.. (Buhahahha – Evil laugh, sometimes its best to try new experiments without him around. Kidding, I just wanted to surprise him)..
Now in a large bowl, mix the yeast with the honey & water. Stir a couple of times & let it rest for about 5 minutes.
Add about 140 gms of flour & half of the cooled olive oil mixture. Mix about 5-6 times, till the flour is moistened. Let this sit for about 5 minutes.
Now add rest of the flour & salt. Mix till the dough comes together. Now knead the dough till its smooth. Oil the bowl & place the dough in the bowl & cover with a warm damp cloth & let it be for around an hour. Place the dough in as warm an area so that it helps it to rise.
Pre-heat your oven to 230 degrees C or 450 degrees F. Use half of the remaining olive oil to grease a 9 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet. I used a slightly larger sheet hence my focaccia is a little flatter than usual.
When an hour is up & the dough has risen well, knead it again a couple of times, then transfer it to the greased baking sheet & flatten it out using your hands. Press down to make impressions on the top using your fingers.
Let it be for another 20 mins so that the dough rises again. Now add the remaining olive oil mixture over the top & spread it around using a pastry brush.
Bake it for 15 – 20 minutes in the centre of the oven or until the top is golden brown. I had a peak after about 5 minutes.. & wow what a sight.. the olive oil was sizzling & I wanted to enter the oven..!
Note: Since I used a larger pan the dough was spread a little flatter, hence my focaccia was ready in 15 minutes. Also if you use the perfect pan, you can make deeper impressions with your fingers.. Since my bread was flatter I could not. Lesson learnt, next time I need to use the perfect tray.
The aroma is just brilliant. Makes you all warm & you crave for some creamy soup/pasta to go with it. Once done, let it cool on a cooling rack.
Cut into pieces of the desired size & serve warm. They are yummy as is or they go really well with some Pasta or soup.
Tip: If you’re in a mood for a yummy focaccia pizza base, when the focaccia is about 12 minutes in the oven, take it out & top it with your favourite pizza sauce, toppings & cheese & return it to the oven till the cheese is sizzling & your pizza is ready. For a homemade pizza sauce idea check here.
The bread tastes best when warm & out of the oven. If you plan to save some for later, then it lasts for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Else you can toast the day old bread to use them as croutons for a salad or soup.
If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Bread rolls with an Indian flavour/Masala bread rolls.. they go perfect with Masala chai.., Olive & Basil bread etc.