After few months of absence at Random Recipe challenge, I am so glad to be participating again. The theme this month is all about bread.... And lucky me, the only cookbook I brought with me is River Cottage Baking: Breads and Puddings. I have truly enjoyed baking home-made breads and with practise, I've gained more confidence and now I can't stop baking breads at home.
The recipe I selected at random is Focaccia. I love this Italian bread, especially simple ones like this, topped with the classic olive oil, sea salt and rosemary. I think focaccia is best enjoyed warm, few minutes after it's out from the oven... lovely by itself or you can make a dipping with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar... delicious!
This is a pretty easy recipe and if you want to, you can make the dough using a food mixer; but I like playing with my food and I find kneading to be a great workout :)
As you can probably tell from the picture below, I didn't use fresh rosemary because I have no idea where to find it here. So, I used dried rosemary instead and it worked just fine... And one quick note on the recipe below: it states that you need 325 ml of water, but I ended up using 375 ml to get the nice smooth and elastic dough. But obviously only add extra water if yours needs it.
Recipe from River Cottage Baking: Breads and Puddings
500 gr strong white bread flour
5 gr powdered dried yeast
10 gr fine salt
325 ml warm water
About 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra
A generous drizzle of olive oil
A sprinkle of flaky sea salt
A couple of rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped
Lightly oiled, shallow baking tray, 26 x 36 cm
To knead by hand, in a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, salt, water and oil, and mix to form a sticky dough. Then, transfer to a clean work surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and silky.
Or, if you want to, you can make the dough using a food mixer that's been fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until combined, then add the oil and leave to knead until smooth and silky.
Shape the dough into a round and coat it with a little extra oil. Leave to rise in a bowl, covered with clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Leave for 45 minutes to an hour.
When the dough has doubled in size, tip it onto the work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Then place in the prepared baking tray. Press the dough with your fingers, right to the corners. Cover the tray with tea towel or plastic wrap, and leave to rise again for half an hour or so. In the meantime, pre heat the over to 250 C.
When the bread looks puffed up an airy, use your fingertips to poke deep holes across the whole surface, almost to the bottom. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with seas salt and the finely chopped rosemary. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200 C and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Take the bread out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for few minutes before serving.