I can barely contain myself at how amazingly amazingly gorgeously cool and scrumptious this was. It’s not my recipe…. Come on, even I don’t use that many semi-made up adjectives to describe my food!
The pastry chef at work makes beautiful focaccia for the lucky lucky diners every night and I asked him how to make it the other day, I wasn’t prepared for the instant recipe that came out of his mouth, and then when the answer to my ‘Where can you by sourdough?’ question was, ‘ummmm, you have to make it’ I decided focaccia possibly wasn’t for me. But, never fear Hugh Fearlessly-Eats-it-All to the rescue and his book entitled….hang one while I search for it on my shelf….’River Cottage Every Day’ has a MUCH easier recipe for focaccia in it.
It’s not a quick task I’m not going to kid anyone that this is an after work before dinner thing. It’s a weekend treat, and make sure it’s a treat because it looks so good that you’ll eat it all way too quickly! I did half of Hugh’s recipe and used a normal cake tin as I was only feeding two of us.
250g Strong White Flour
3g Fast Action dried Yeast
1 tbsp Rapeseed or Olive Oil
Lots of rapeseed or olive oil
Chopped up Rosemary
Flakes of sea salt
- Put all the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl and mix it all up
- Gradually add 175 ml warm water to the flour and mix it up to a rough REALLY sticky dough
- Dig the dough out of the bowl and plop it onto a highly flour’d surface, make sure you scrape all the gooey dough from the bowl – don’t worry, it’s supposed to be this gooey
- Flour your hands, have some more flour ready and knead the dough until it is silky smooth, this will take around 10 minutes of heavy kneading, it’s hard work and effort is ‘kneaded…’ (sorry) to get it really smooth. You’ll need to add flour while you knead, but do this through havcing a flour’d surface not by adding flour to the dough – if that makes sense
- Mould the dough into a round bun shape, gently cover with some oiled cling film and leave to rise for an hour, maybe 3 three hours until it’s doubled in size
- While it’s rising, liberally oil a normal cake tin and sprinkle the base with salt
- When the dough has doubled, place in a lightly floured surface and knock back (knead it again in other words) and make it into a round the size of the cake tin
- Squidge it in and prod your fingers into it so it resembles normal focaccia – yup those dips aren’t from some amazing baking magic – but from your fingers! Don’t put your fingers all the way through the dough though
- Leave it to rise again for an hour or so
- Pre heat the oven to its highest temperature – mine goes up to 220 degrees C
- Splot the cherry tomatoes into some of the dips
- Sprinkle rosemary over the top and lots of lovely olive or rapeseed oil and lashings of salt – now do you see why I said it’s a treat….?
- Pop it into your hot hot oven and turn the temperature down immediately to 180 degrees and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until it’s beautifully browned and sounds hollow if you tap it
- Take it out of the tin and leave it to cool on a rack
- Drizzle more lovely oil over it and more salt
- Serve. Either on its own or with some lovely charcuterie
It’s not healthy, but it looks awesome, tastes amazing and burns a few precious calories during the kneading process.
I have, in case you didn’t notice, discovered rapeseed oil. I spent many summers at school loathing rapeseed partly due to the name – it doesn’t exactly endear itself to teenage girls. But also becuase a great many of my friends were rendered pretty much unable to breath, see or speak once it came into flower. So great was the power of the pollen that eyes streamed uncontrollably, noses blocked and the school was rife with the sound of sneezes. I was blissfully unaffected – now in my twenties I only have to look at a picture and I get tearful – I now get the grown up hayfever which is obviously much worse! Sorry I’m waffling – rapeseed oil is, in my opinion, a pretty good apology from the plant to us hayfever suferers, it tastes great and is a rather good alternative to oilve oil every now and then. I don’t prefer it to my beloved olive oil but it’s quite nice to chop and change – keep the old tastebuds guessing.