This was another one of my Sunday morning bakes and was a great way to relax after spending my first week at my work experience placement this summer (I’m working full time for the first time since leaving uni so the early mornings have been quite an adjustment for me)!
Although it was my first time making focaccia, I thought I would go for a ‘flavoured’ variation instead of the traditional Rosemary and Garlic combination, just because I love tomatoes at this time of the year and wanted to incorporate them into my weekly baking session.
The tomatoes and parmesan add a really nice finish to this focaccia and I found that as well as enjoying it on its own, the bread made for great sandwiches for my lunch both the Sunday and Monday! The loaf will keep well for about 24 hours but will not taste as great after this time, but if your household is anything like mine then that shouldn’t be too much of a problem!
Focaccia dough is notoriously tricky for first-time bakers as it is such a wet dough and if I’m completely honest, I was not expecting it to be as difficult to handle as it was! To get around this problem I added quite a bit of extra flour and I’m not sure this is ‘allowed’ in focaccia making, but it definitely didn’t seem to have a negative impact on this loaf.
All in all, this was a successful first time bake for me and I definitely look forward to trying out another loaf sometime soon 🙂
Ingredients (Makes 1 Focaccia Loaf)
150g Strong White Bread Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 x 7g Sachet of Dried Easy Use Yeast
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
200ml Cold Water
Olive Olive, for drizzling
75g Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
5-8 Cherry Tomatoes
Sea Salt Crystals, to season at the end
Add the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 150ml of the water into a large mixing bowl and gently stir with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form. Once the ingredients are starting to come together as a dough, take over with your hands, kneading the dough in the bowl for at least 5 minutes whilst gradually adding the remaining water.
Once all the water has been added, start to really work the dough in the bowl for a further 5 minutes, stretching it out and tucking the sides back into the centre, turning the bowl 90 degrees every so often whilst you are doing this.
*This is when I had to add more flour as the dough was just too sticky for me to work with properly.
After a good 10 minutes of kneading the dough in the bowl, turn the dough out onto an oiled surface and carry on kneading it for another 5-7 minutes, so that the dough is nice and smooth. At this stage, return the dough to the bowl, cover with some oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise for at least an hour, until it has doubled in size.
– Whilst the dough is being left to rise, line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Once the focaccia dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and flatten it out onto the prepared baking sheet (making sure you push it into all the corners), before leaving it to prove for another hour.
– Just before the end of the second hour resting time, preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7, chop all your cherry tomatoes in half and grate the parmesan.
Once the hour proving time is up, drizzle the loaf with a little bit of oil, place the chopped tomatoes cut side down on to the loaf and sprinkle the grated parmesan all over the top of the focaccia. Finally, sprinkle a very small amount of sea salt crystals on top of the loaf and place it into the centre of the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
After this 20 minutes, or when the focaccia is golden brown and makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom, it can be removed from the oven.
Once out of the oven, the focaccia can be eaten hot or cold, so cut yourself a slice or two straight away, or leave it to cool for a while before having a rest and enjoying your hard work!