I used to dream of a house filled with the heavenly smell of freshly baked bread from the time we were fed to large doses of Enid Blyton’s books as children, and she remains my inspiration for all the baking I try out in my kitchen. I took up the daunting task of baking a foccacia after reading the one prepared by ‘Happy home baking’ and ‘delicious days’ and TADA – The result is here for all to see!
Here’s my combination recipe – Its more of ‘Happy home baking’s measurements and method as laid down by ‘delicious days’ except for minor alterations – I have just tweaked the recipe a little to suit my palate – isn’t that what cooking is all about?
Refined flour (Maida) – 300g
Salt – 1 tsp.
Sugar – 1 tsp.
Active dried yeast – 1 tsp.
Garlic, finely chopped – 10 cloves
A mixture of these herbs – all dried and crushed – rosemary, oregano, basil leaves – 1 tsp. each
Olive oil – 1 to 11/2 tbsp.
1 tablespoon olive oil,
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes,
2 tsps. of kasuri methi (Dry fenugreek leaves),
1/2tsp. of dried and crushed oregano and basil leaves,
Lots of flax seeds, and
I could not resist adding a couple of cheese strips and thin slices of boiled potato (which I also removed and ate the moment the bread was out of the oven!) and generous sprinkling of coarse rock salt.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
Sprinkle yeast over warm water (105° to 115°F) in a medium bowl; allow to foam (about 5 minutes). Add olive oil, oregano, garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes.
Add yeast mixture to dry ingredients; mix until smooth. On a lightly floured surface knead until smooth and elastic, 10 to 12 minutes. The dough may become slightly stickly – just dip a finger in oil – smooth it over the dough and keep kneading till it gathers into a nice soft ball. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat top, cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk (volume).
Punch down to press air out (This seemed a little tedious to me) and fit onto an oiled baking pan(Mine is a round 8 inch baking pan). Allow to rise until doubled in bulk. Make deep dents all over the dough at regular intervals of an inch or so. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.
The last two steps are shown in the picture below (clockwise from the first one):Dough prepared and placed in bowl to double, First proofing, Fitted into the pan and The second proofing:
Brush top of dough with olive oil and pour into the dents also. Top the bread sprinkling the toppings evenly all over the surface.
Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes (Mine took nearly 1hr. – that was because the lower heating coils of my oven were not working). Here is a picture I took when the bread was out of the oven and cut into one strip, and broken…… and eaten……
Brush with very little olive oil; sprinkle with grated cheese while still warm. Cut into desired shapes- I just cut them into long strips.
My children thought the bread smelt and looked exactly like the one that Pizzahut serves so they wanted a cheese dip topping. I made some white sauce with whole wheat flour and a little cheese and spread it over a slice as I have shown here:
The stars came down for me that evening when my son told me that I was the best baking MOM!
Update: Since this post I have come a long way, baking all kinds of breads. Please find them in the recipe-index.