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 and since then have been falling in love (more & more) with yeast and 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 and 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 and suggestions to enjoy Focassia.
Recipe of Focassia with Bell Peppers & olives
Recipe Inspired by – Jamie Oliver’s Three Flavour Focassia (Recipe Link – https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/three-flavour-focaccia/)
For the dough –
- All purpose Flour / Maida – 250 gms or 2 cups of 125 gms each
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Castor Sugar – 1 tsp
- Instant Yeast – 1.5 tsp
- 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
- Lukewarm Water – 1 cup approx.
Herbs for flavouring the Focassia –
- Oregano – 1 tsp
- Rosemary – 1 tsp
- Sea salt – few grains (don’t replace with table salt)
- Red Chilli flakes – as per taste (optional)
- 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.
- Step 1 – In case you don’t have instant yeast, take active dry yeast of the same qty and proof it. Once yeast blooms, add the mixture to the flour. PS – I prefer using instant yeast in all my bakes.
- Step 2 – Grease a big bowl enough to hold a risen dough with few drops of oil.
- In a separate bowl, add the flour, add salt, yeast (incase instant yeast), sugar and knead the dough using lukewarm water. Add the water slowly and ensure the dough doesn’t get too sticky. Do not add the entire quantity of water while kneading.
- Now place the dough on the kitchen platform or a board and put 1 tblsp of melted butter and knead the dough for roughly 7-10 mins.
- During the 10 mins of kneading, keep adding oil / butter slowly. The dough should be very soft to touch after kneading.
- 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.
- The proving takes about 1 hour to 1.5 hours depending on weather conditions. The dough should be double in size.
- 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 and spread them with your hands. Gently push the dough into the corners.
- Now place this greased tin for further proving in a warm place preferably for 20-30 mins.
- Preheat the oven before baking for atleast 10 mins (hot oven) at 200 degrees.
- 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 and slightly press it to the dough so that they don’t fall off while slicing.
- Drizzle some olive oil just before placing it in the oven.
- Bake this beauty at 200 degrees for 20 – 30 mins or until golden brown.
- 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 –
- Pairs well with cheese and some soup (preferably a Minestrone or Tomato)
- A glass of wine and focassia can be a great party starter / Antipasti option.
- Toppings suggestion – Caramelized onions & cherry tomatoes, eggplants / aubergines grilled with some mushrooms, Red onions, jalapenos & gherkins.
- Water used for proofing and kneading the dough should be lukewarm and not hot. Hot water kills the yeast.
- Kneading makes the dough soft and ensures proper mixing of all ingredients, ensures soft loaf. So ensure you knead the dough for a good 7-10 mins.
- 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.
If you like my work, please show me some love by following me on:-
Twitter – https://twitter.com/masalachilli
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/MasalachillibyVidyaNarayan/
Pinterest – https://in.pinterest.com/masalachilli