This month’s recipe is for foccacia. I had never made foccacia before and had only made bread once before so this a fun bake to do. I also learnt a bit more about the art of breadmaking particularly in regards to leaving the bread somewhere warm when it is rising.
For the dough
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 x 7g sachet of yeast
- 1-2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 300ml lukewarm water
For the topping
- 1 medium red pepper
- 1 medium yellow pepper
- 1 medium green pepper
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ground black pepper
- sea salt
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour with the salt and 1 and a 1/2 tsp of dried yeast from the sachet (its best to put them in different sides of the bowl so that the salt doesn’t deactivate the yeast). Stir in the chopped rosemary, then add the olive oil. Using your hand work in enough of the water to make a soft and just slightly sticky dough. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead until very smooth and pliable. This should take about 10 minutes. Return the dough to the lightly oiled bowl and make sure it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, chop the peppers into 2 cm chunks. Put into a mixing bowl with 2 tbsp of oil and toss until thoroughly coated. Heat a griddle pan and chargrill the peppers over a high heat until speckled with dark brown patches but don’t allow to blacken. Tip back into bowl, add the crushed garlic and add a little salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
Punch down the risen dough to deflate, then turn out of the bowl. Set the dough in the centre of an oiled tray and press and shape with your hands to make a rough square. Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples, then poke fresh rosemary into them. Leave to rise for 20 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oven to 220C.
Drizzle the rest of the oil over the top of the bread and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the heated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190C and bake for a further 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.