Don’t you love the smell of fresh baked bread in your home. Especially if it isn’t just any bread but a herby cheesy bread. The kind of bread that they sell in expensive Italian deli’s, bread that is so good that the only thing it needs is a bit of olive oil with salt to dip it in. Yes that’s the kind of bread I made! Baking isn’t my strongest suit since it requires exact measurements and I am more of the let’s throw it in and see what it tastes like type. But this bread is really easy to make that even I could pull off this one! It takes some time but that is normal when you make your bread (without cheating with a bread making machine).
Ingredients: 2 Cups cake flour, 5 g instant yeast, 1 Tbs salt, 1 Tbs sugar, 400ml tepid water, 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, chopped black olives , A few sprigs of fresh sage, 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed, 60ml finely grated Parmesan, 1 small onion, thinly sliced, Salt and pepper, Olive oil – for when the focaccia comes out of the oven
Sift all your dry ingredients into the bowl of your mixer (or mixing bowl if making by hand). Using the paddle attachment or k-beater (or a spatula), mix these ingredients until thoroughly combined. Slowly add water, just enough that the dough comes together and cleans the bowl. Change to your dough hook. Knead your dough on medium speed (or by hand) for 5 minutes – you will see that the dough becomes less wet and smoother. After 5 minutes add the remainder of your water and knead for another 5 minutes. Add your 2 Tbs of olive oil and knead for another 10 minutes. Add the chopped black olives and need until they are evenly spread in the dough. At this point you should have a soft, non-sticky, smooth dough. If not yet there, knead for a few more minutes until you’re happy with the feel and texture. Remove from the bowl of the mixer and place into a lightly oiled bowl, covered with cling film or a damp tea towel, in a warm, draught free spot to rise until doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 200’C. Knock back your dough and divide into two. Shape both into medium sized ovals and use your fingers to make light indentations all over. Top with the toppings, distributing them evenly over the breads and making sure they are properly pressed down. Season with lots of flaky salt. Leave to rise again in a warm, draught free place for about 20 minutes until nicely risen. Pop into your oven and bake until golden, risen and hollow sounding when tapped underneath – around 30-40 minutes. If the bread is getting too dark before it’s done baking, turn down your oven to 180’C or even 160’C if necessary to bake through. Remove from the oven and pour (quite liberally) lovely lashings of olive oil all over both your focaccias – don’t worry, the bread soaks it in without becoming soggy. You want them to be glossy, juicy and soft! Eat while still warm or pop them back into the oven just before serving later.