Italian Focaccia

A recent inventory of my kitchen cupboards revealed five opened bags of flour (yes, five?!) and a packet of dried yeast that was four months beyond its sell-by date. I’d recently filed away a Jamie Oliver recipe for Focaccia, the Italian bread which, if my language skills serve me correctly, is pronounced, rather trickily, Fockatcha . Jamie’s recipe called for cherry tomatoes, rosemary and garlic, while a similarly filed recipe suggested mozzarella and pesto. Why stop there, I thought, and while the cyclist in my life was burning off calories on the hills of the French Riviera, I got creative with lunch:

Better with more holes
Better with more holes
Pick'n'mix ingredients
Pick'n'mix ingredients

You will need:

500g / 1lb 2oz strong white bread flour*

7g / 1/3 oz sachet of dried yeast

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

* I only had cake flour so my texture was lighter and spongier. Still good, though.

Then a mix of any of whichever Mediterranean ingredients you prefer, such as:

Cherry tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes

Garlic

Rosemary

Mozzarella

Goat’s cheese

Black olives

Pesto

Olive oil / flavoured olive oil

To make the dough:

  • Pour the flour into a large bowl and mix in the salt.
  • Dissolve the yeast in 325 ml / 12 fl oz tepid water.
  • Add water and oil to the flour, and mix to a dough. Just get your hands dirty and remember not to answer the phone if it rings. Pull and knead and stretch your dough for a good ten minutes. (I suggest music or an interesting radio programme during this period).
  • Replace in your bowl and cover with a little more oil (I forgot this bit). Throw over a tea-towel and leave in a warm spot for an hour.
  • Wash your hands.
  • After your hour’s up, stretch the dough out onto a baking dish until it’s about 20cm x 30cm / 8 in x 12 in. Cover again with the tea-towel and leave for another 30-40 minutes.

Getting creative:

  • Heat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4.
  • Once the dough’s risen, press small holes all over it. More than I did in the accompanying photo – on eating, the mouthfuls that don’t have a surprise package in them seem a bit dull. At this point, Jamie puts his cherry tomatoes in the holes so they cook for longer.
  • Bake in the oven for about fifteen minutes, then remove and add your chosen ingredients. Mine happened to be chopped-up sun-dried tomatoes, goat’s cheese and black olives.
  • Smear the bread with a little olive oil – now’s the time to use that flavoured stuff someone once bought you and you’re always forgetting – and bake for another five to ten minutes.

A bit of a fiddle, perhaps, but Focaccia really is delicious, even if it does sound like something you couldn’t politely offer your grannie.

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Comments 4 comments

shleglebagel profile image

shleglebagel 5 years ago

Sounds good. I have always wondered how to make Focaccia bread so thanks for the help.


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 5 years ago from South of France Author

My pleasure, Shleglebagel, it's a fun thing to do, albeit somewhat time-consuming. And messy!


lilibees profile image

lilibees 5 years ago

MMMMMM, this looks like a really recipe, I will try it and soon! Thanks!


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 5 years ago from South of France Author

Hi Lilibees, I really enjoyed it and thought it was worth sharing. Let me know how yours works out!

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