Anyone else remember the 1990s and the age of focaccia? My memories are of almost every café or sandwich shop I visited including focaccia on their menu, either as a base for sandwiches or a side with soup or salad. That era seems to have passed. Perhaps it is just as well, as many of us are happy to have left behind those memories of a little too oily, slightly stale café fare.
Let me tell you, homemade focaccia is actually very nice, and not difficult to make. We have been making it like this for many years.
This is a basic dough recipe, with a couple of variations for toppings: red onion and sage; and olive, parmesan and rosemary. You could use your own variation if you like. This recipe makes enough for two focaccias, but if you don’t plan to cook them both at once, store half the dough in the fridge or freezer until you need it. The cold dough will need to come back to room temperature again before rising in the pan and baking.
This focaccia is best eaten on the day it is baked.
– 420ml water
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 700g regular white flour
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons sugar
– 2 teaspoons dried yeast
Place the ingredients into a bread maker in the correct order for your machine, and start the dough setting.
Meanwhile, lightly oil a cast iron pan, cake pan or pie dish with olive oil.
When the bread machine’s dough cycle is complete, take out the dough and gently knead one half of the topping portions (see below) into the dough. Shape the dough into a flattened disc the size of your pan. Place the dough in the oiled pan, then turn it back over again (so the top has a light covering of oil). Leave the dough to rise in the pan in a warm place for approximately 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
After the first rise, poke small indents all over the top of the dough with your finger or a round-ended utensil. Cover and leave to rise again for approximately 10 minutes.
After the second rise, brush the surface with olive oil and sprinkle the remaining portion of the topping over the dough. Bake in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, until the focaccia is firm when tapped and is a light golden colour.
Olive, rosemary and parmesan:
– 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
– 3 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives
– 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
Combine the topping ingredients, then divide the mix into 2 portions. Gently knead one portion into the dough prior to shaping into a disc, and sprinkle the other portion on the top of the focaccia before baking.
Red onion and sage:
– ¼ red onion
– 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped ( ½ tablespoon dried)
– 2 teaspoons salt, preferably coarse grained
Combine the onion and sage then halve the mix into two portions. Gently knead one half through the dough prior to shaping into a disc, and sprinkle the other half on top before baking, along with 2 teaspoons salt, preferably coarse grained or rock salt.
Take it with you on your next picnic, or serve it with soup. It also makes a tasty and economical “something” on the table if you have extra people for a meal.