Fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs, some cheese and fish – that is what we mainly eat in the hottest summer days. And this year the hot period happened to be quite long, so our oven had a long vacation. Sooner or later, however, all vacations end, and the time to get back to work (in this case to bake) comes. But because it’s still summer we prefer something that goes well with salads and light summery meals. And there aren’t that many things saying “sunny summer day” better than a classic focaccia?
For the recipe I trusted Delia Smith’s Summer Collection – it’s precise and easy to follow, and these small individual focaccias are really quick to bake (so your kitchen won’t turn into a sauna). Kneading by hand turned out to be a pleasant activity, but, of course, you can do it with a dough hook of an electric mixer.
Makes 4-6 individual focaccias
Prep time: around 2 hours
Baking time: 15 minutes
For the dough:
350g all purpose flour + some more for dusting
½ tsp salt
2 tsp dry active yeast
1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
210 ml lukewarm water
For the topping:
50-60g olives, pitted and halved
Few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and mix it in. Pour the lukewarm water along with 1½ tbsp of olive oil and mix everything to a dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Add few more drops of water, if needed.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes (or process for 5 minutes with the electric mixer, if you prefer). To be sure that you kneaded long enough my advice is to use the oven timer or take the time in some other way, if you prefer. Sprinkle with a little flour from time to time, if necessary.
When the dough feels very bouncy and elastic, oil it with some olive oil and place it into a clean bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 1- 1½ hours will be enough). When ready, turn the dough out on to the work surface and punch the air out by kneading it again for 2-3 minutes. Now it’s ready for topping.
Divide the dough into four or six small balls and place the sections on an oiled baking sheet. Using your hands pat out each piece into a flat round, 10-12cm. in diameter. Sprinkle the rosemary needles and the olives over each peace. To finish, sprinkle the surface with some salt and drizzle the olive oil all over each focaccia. Cover with a damp tea cloth or cling film and leave the dough to puff up again for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F, gas mark 5). When the focaccias are puffed, bake them for about 15 minutes or until they are golden round the edges and look well cooked in the center. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve with a big bowl of salad or with Roasted tomato soup.
This recipe participate in Project Lunch Box