Focaccia with Bell peppers & olives

I have been baking for a really long time now but breads was an unchartered territory until early this year. Attended a short course on basic bread making & since then have been falling in love (more & more) with yeast & flour. Baking your own breads gives you utmost satisfaction, not to forget, breads are completely free from additives, preservatives etc that is always a worry when buying breads from bakery.

Have baked this focassia for friends & received encouraging compliments about the same & I am sure you will definitely give it a try. Try this on a weekend with a glass of wine or mocktails (as I do) or just enjoy this with a hot bowl of soup during winters / monsoons. Total Bliss !!

Do read the detailed recipe with notes & suggestions to enjoy Focassia.

Recipe of Focassia with Bell Peppers & olives

Recipe Inspired by – Jamie Oliver’s Three Flavour Focassia

Ingredients –

For the dough –

  1. All purpose Flour / Maida – 250 gms or 2 cups of 125 gms each
  2. Salt – 1 tsp
  3. Castor Sugar – 1 tsp
  4. Instant Yeast – 1.5 tsp
  5. Olive Oil / Butter (melted) – 1-2 tblsp for kneading the dough + 1 tblsp to drizzle over the focassia before baking + ½ tsp for greasing the bowls / tins
  6. Lukewarm Water – 1 cup approx.

Herbs for flavouring the Focassia –

  1. Oregano – 1 tsp
  2. Rosemary – 1 tsp
  3. Sea salt – few grains (don’t replace with table salt)
  4. Red Chilli flakes – as per taste (optional)
  5. Fresh Basil leaves

For Toppings –

  • Finely sliced capsicum or bell peppers & sliced olives

Post Baking –

  • ½ to 1 tsp of Olive oil or melted butter to be brushed over the bread. In case you like, use extra virgin olive oil.

Method –

  1. Step 1 – In case you don’t have instant yeast, take active dry yeast of the same qty & proof it. Once yeast blooms, add the mixture to the flour. PS – I prefer using instant yeast in all my bakes.
  2. Step 2 – Grease a big bowl enough to hold a risen dough with few drops of oil.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the flour, add salt, yeast (incase instant yeast), sugar & knead the dough using lukewarm water. Add the water slowly & ensure the dough doesn’t get too sticky. Do not add the entire quantity of water while kneading.
  4. Now place the dough on the kitchen platform or a board & put 1 tblsp of melted butter & knead the dough for roughly 7-10 mins.
  5. During the 10 mins of kneading, keep adding oil / butter slowly. The dough should be very soft to touch after kneading.
  6. Now carefully place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl / container for proofing (Step 2) in a warm place. Ensure you cover the dough either with a damp cloth (not wet) or keep the dough in a container with lid.
  7. The proving takes about 1 hour to 1.5 hours depending on weather conditions. The dough should be double in size.
  8. Once the dough is proved, knock off the air by punching the dough few times. Now sprinkle some flour on the board / platform, knead the dough lightly for 5 mins, place them in a greased tin & spread them with your hands. Gently push the dough into the corners.
  9. Now place this greased tin for further proving in a warm place preferably for 20-30 mins.
  10. Preheat the oven before baking for atleast 10 mins (hot oven) at 200 degrees.
  11. After the bread has once again risen, using your finger tips, make dimples in the bread, sprinkle the herbs (check herb ingredients for toppings above). Place the vegetables / toppings & slightly press it to the dough so that they don’t fall off while slicing.
  12. Drizzle some olive oil just before placing it in the oven.
  13. Bake this beauty at 200 degrees for 20 – 30 mins or until golden brown.
  14. Once baked, brush a bit of butter on top or drizzle some extra virgin olive oil sprinkle some red chilli flakes (optional). Serve warm or cool.

 

 

My suggestions for enjoying a good focassia –

  1. Pairs well with cheese & some soup (preferably a Minestrone or Tomato)
  2. A glass of wine & focassia can be a great party starter / Antipasti option.
  3. Toppings suggestion – Caramelized onions & cherry tomatoes, eggplants / aubergines grilled with some mushrooms, Red onions, jalapenos & gherkins.

Notes –

  1. Water used for proofing & kneading the dough should be lukewarm & not hot. Hot water kills the yeast.
  2. Kneading makes the dough soft & ensures proper mixing of all ingredients, ensures soft loaf. So ensure you knead the dough for a good 7-10 mins.
  3. Point No. 7 – During summers, the dough rises fast as compared to winters / monsoon so your dough might take 35-40 mins. The dough should be double in size. That’s the only indication.

 

Vidya Narayan

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19 thoughts on “Focaccia with Bell peppers & olives

Add yours

    1. thanks dear. Its an Italian bread with various seasonings & choice of veggies as toppings. U can either enjoy it with soup or wine. Can be used as sandwiches also.

      Like

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