Friday, 27 March 2009

Foccacia

(not as rude as it sounds!)

I have the task of creating some appealing party nibbles for a friends cocktail party and being on a budget, I didn't want to buy a ton of pre-packed gumph. I already had flour, yeast and oil in the cupboad and a ready supply of water from the tap so I thought I'd give homemade bread a go. It's really easy so don't be daunted! Here's my take on the Italian classic...

Focaccia

Ingredients:
250g strong white flour
tsp salt
7g (sachet) yeast
Olive oil

- Combine flour, salt, yeast and a tbsp of olive oil in a bowl
- Add about 150ml of tepid water, mixing as you go. This can be very messy! Different flour will absorb varying amounts of water so add a little at a time and be prepared to use a little more or less each time. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more water. If it's still very sticky, add more flour. You're looking for a solid consistency that isn't sticky and doesn't coat your fingers as you agitate it.
- Spend about ten minutes kneading the dough on a floured surface; stretch it, then work it back over itself. You can really pound it! Work out some of your aggression until its smooth. Add drizzles of oil as you go a long to add to the elasticity.
- Prepare a baking tray with parchment and a little olive oil.
- Stretch out dough until it's about 2cm thick. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for at least thirty minutes to an hour.
- Preheat oven to 220c
- Bake for 15 minutes

Notes: I used plain flour as I didn't have any strong flour, which worked well. It's not ideal but will work if it's all you have.

Additions: A little minced garlic, finely chopped green olives and/or dried or fresh rosemary would work a treat with this. Mix them in at the dry stage for added flavour.

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