Wild Herb Focaccia – Italian Bread – Week 3

This is an Italian flatbread with a rich olive-oil soaked texture and a salty crispy crust. A combination of strong white flour and ‘OO’ flour (pasta flour)  will give it a nice springy texture. Don’t be afraid of the wetness of the dough when you make this bread, it will come together but using too much flour will end up in having bread that resembles a doorstop. When kneading this loaf do not flour the work top, rather put some oil down.

Go wild using fresh herbs and garlic from your garden for this bread. Some herbs are stronger in taste than others so be sure to vary the amount that you use. Serve with some cherry tomatoes, a bowl of marinated olives, a simple salad, good friends and good wine. This recipe makes one loaf and can be frozen. Some say it is the ‘King of Italian Bread’ others prefer Ciabatta – done well I say Focaccia.

Ingredients

175 g (6 oz) strong white bread flour

175 g (6 oz) ‘OO’ white flour (pasta flour)

¾teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon fast action dried yeast

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

scant 225 ml (8 fl oz) hand hot water (meaning you may not need the full measure but remember you are after a soft pliable dough)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary or oregano)

¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 crushed clove of garlic

  • Mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Make a well in the centre and add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the water. Mix to form a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough onto an un-floured surface and knead it for about 8 – 10 minutes until it is smooth, soft and elastic. Then allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Grease a 23 cm (9″) flan ring and place it onto a baking sheet.
  • Press the dough into the flan ring. Cover and prove in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

 

  • Flour your fingertips and make indentations over the whole of the surface of the dough. Push the herbs into the holes and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil across the top of the loaf. Then sprinkle it with the coarse sea salt and crushed garlic.
  • Cover and leave the bread to rise for another 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to Gas mark 7/ 220° C/ 425°
  • Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Transfer onto a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.

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