Focaccia is surprisingly easy to make and these will make a lovely addition to your picnic basket. We’ve had tons of disasters with dough and still do, but we find the best way to work with it’s sticky character is just to keep it simple & not overthink it.During the fermentation (rest) period , it helps to place the dough near a warm oven so it rises well. We got this and some other great tips on bread making from a book called Artisan breads by Eric Kastel, which is sort of our encyclopaedia on all things bread.
We decided to do away with the regular tomato and rosemary topped focaccia and try something a little different. This flavour is all summer- light and sweet and lemony .Cut these into bite sized squares.
Prep time : 30 mins Rest time : 2.5 hrs Cook time : 40 mins
Makes 1 large or 2 small loafs
550g Bread Flour
7g Dry Yeast
16 g sugar
250 ml water
115 ml milk
45ml olive oil
65ml olive oil
25g salt flakes
1 lemon, outer yellow skin peeled and very thinly sliced crosswise
3 figs sliced lengthwise
2-3 Tbsps of fresh ricotta
I spring of mint leaves, chopped
Mix the ingredients for the salamoia in a small bowl and whisk together until well emulsified.This is going to go on top of the focaccia as a last step.
In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, then add the olive oil, water & milk – all a little at a time, stirring with a fork as you add. Stir until you get a rough dough. Knead the dough in the bowl, it will be wet & sticky at first , but keep going & it will come together.
When you are able to collect all the dough into a ball, transfer it to your kneading surface (we use a silicone baking mat) and knead well for about 10 mins until you get a smooth ball of dough. We push the dough down with the heel of palm, fold it over and repeat. There are great kneading techniques here or you could just give the dough a good bashing & throw down like Subas’ mom-in law does!
Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let it rest in a warm place for 2 hours.
While waiting, prepare your baking sheet by oiling it generously with olive oil , you can really use any size or shape pan you like and shape your dough to fit it.
When the rest time is over, knead the dough again for 5 mins on your kneading surface and then pull the ball of dough on both ends to get an oblong shape and place it on your baking tray. Spread it out with your fingers on the top , bottom & sides to get a longer oblong shape.
You could spread it out to a rectangle shape or really any shape you choose depending on your baking sheet. You could also split the dough into two make two loafs. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it will expand a little again in the next step.
Leave it to rest for 30 mins.While waiting , prep the toppings and preheat your oven to 180c
When the rest time is up, reshape your dough fixing any areas that are messy. Using your fingers , poke holes all over the dough(this is the fun part!).
Arrange the lemon & fig slices on the focaccia and press them into the dough. Dot with the ricotta.
Pour the prepared salamoia evenly over the dough.Bake for 30-40 mins until crusts are golden. Top with the fresh mint.
x Anu & Suba