TIME rather "Free Time" has become a luxury for me these days. So much that I sincerely hope when I wake up one fine day that weekends would comprise of 30 hours/day and weekdays 24. So that probably I get to do all the things I have to do/love doing- work, cook, bake, sleep, read, cuddle with my other half, chat with parents, laze around and ofcourse blog.
Or maybe it is rigid time management that I need to work on. Nah ! My first option sounds so much better..
And it's not that i haven't been cooking or baking. I have so many pics lying in my drafts but I am somehow never in the frame of mind lately to gather and put down my thoughts.
I realised I needed some prodding to get me out of my state of inertia which is when when my dear blogger friend Gopika rescued (pinged) me and said let's plan to bake something using the same recipe around the same weekend .I instantly agreed. We discussed several options and finalised on FOCACCIA in the end, ulterior motive being that I wanted a change desperately from all the sweet goodies I usually post here.This seemed perfect .A bread, savoury and herbs ! Yum !
I had seen so many recipes floating around and decided upon the recipe from the reliable ladies at showmethecurry.com and adapated it almost fully. I halved the recipe.
Easy to put together and lovely as an appetizer for a party
Taken from here
Yields 6-8 wedges (similar to that of pizza slices)
All Purpose Flour – 2.5 cups
Warm Water – 1/2+ 1/3 cups ( half of 1 and 2/3rd cups)
Active Dry Yeast – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Olive Oil – 1/8 cup +1 Tbsp for coating the bottom of the pan +2 Tbsp for coating the dough
Oregano- 1 tsp (dried)
Pepper- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Red chilli flakes - 1 Tbsp or to taste
Rosemary/Mixed Italian seasoning – 1 tsp (Dried)
Onion – 1/4 small, sliced finely
Olive oil accompaniment
Olive oil- 1/4 cup
Garlic- 2 cloves
Mixed Italian seasoning- 1tsp
- In a mixing bowl, mix the warm water, yeast and sugar. Cover and keep for 5-10 mins until foamy.
- Add salt, olive oil and 2 cups of the flour (more can be added later as needed).Keep kneading until everything comes together and if you feel like you need more flour, add the remaining 1/2 cup as well and knead well till till it forms a smooth ball. Cover the bowl tightly with a damp cloth /cling film.
- Preheat oven to 120 F/50 C for about 5-7 mins and switch off. Place the bowl inside the oven for about an hour so that the dough rises.
- After an hour take the dough out of the oven and knead again till all the air escapes from the risen dough while mixing in the oregano,pepper and red chilli flakes.
- Take the pan in which you intend to bake the bread and coat it generously with olive oil.Spread this dough in all directions of the pan as shown in the video with your hand and remember not to stress yourself, as this is a RUSTIC ITALIAN BREAD.
- Cover again and repeat step 3.
- After an hour, you would see that the dough has risen again. Puncture it with your finger by dotting it one inch apart.
- Preheat oven to 425F/220 C.
- In a small bowl, mix the 2 Tbsp of olive Oil with mixed italian seasoning and sliced onions.
- Spread the oil mixture over the top of the risen dough. Arrange onions evenly over the top.
- Bake Focaccia for 20 mins at 220 C and 5 mins at 200 C. The last 5 mins depend completely on the type of the oven. I felt mine to be not as crusty/golden at the end of the first 20 mins and hence continued at a lower temperate for the next 5 mins.
- Enjoy hot by dipping it in the olive oil accompaniment (method of preparation explained below) and store unused portion in an airtight container in the fridge.
To prepare the olive oil accompaniment:
I heated the olive oil in my microwave for about 10 seconds and added the crushed garlic cloves and oregano and left it covered until the focaccia was ready to be eaten.
-Original recipe called for rapid rise yeast which is easily available at most stores. But my hubby seems to have an allergic reaction towards it due to which I opted for the normal yeast and hence had to allow the dough to rise twice as opposed to once if using rapid rise yeast.
We loved the crusty and rustic nature of the bread and the garlic infused oil was truly an excellent accompaniment with this bread. Next time,I intend to use black olives and sundried tomatoes. Also, I plan to make chicken mozzarella/pesto sandwiches with the remaining bread which I just could not manage to do this time.
Gopika dear, loved baking with you! Let us do this more often and anyone interested to join, this is completely informal and you are more than welcome ! :)