Bake Day- Focaccia

IMG_5295

With 2015 well on its way I find myself with a lot of spare time. University only starts in a month and everyone is back at work, leaving me and my thoughts to ourselves. I’ve recently started reading Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak, not only do I find certain aspects of this book to be relevant in life but I find that it’s almost like a handbook on how to treat yourself and those around you. At first I could only describe it as philosophical, but as I continued I realised that most of the ‘rules’ actually apply to me personally. If you’re looking for a good read I recommend this!

Which brings me to today’s post. In the book, one of the main characters Ella, shares the same love for food that I do. One of the quotes that specifically stood out to me was, “nothing reminds a man of home like the smell of freshly baked bread, never buy your bread. Bake it yourself, honey. It will work wonders.” And honey do I agree!

I love how a home is instantly warmed by the scents of freshly baked bread. I love the aroma of freshly prepared baked goods wafting around my home it gives me a sense of comfort. I particularly need to point out how easy it is to make bread. There’s no need for fancy bread makers or equipment, your hands are all you need. I’ve noticed a lot of people using bread machines, which I have no problem with, but I also need to point out that bread making is an artisanal procedure. Meaning that it’s a skill which requires craftsmanship, it requires you to experience the texture and quality first hand. In order to make good quality bread you need a great amount of attention and care. If you really need the assistance bring out your dough hook for a little help. Take my advice feel the dough, get involved it’s so rewarding.

The focaccia I made this week was packed with tantalizing flavours. I decided to keep the feta and caramelised onion combination as the flavours are so amazing together. I added succulent strips of honey marinated beef to the topping and used baby leaf spinach to complete the dish. (You could use rocket)

Bread Recipe (via ICCA)

Ingredients

Dough

  • 250g flour
  • 5 gm yeast
  • 4 gm salt
  • 160 ml water (warm) or A/R for a soft dough
  • 30 ml olive oil

For the toppings you can use anything you want these are the toppings I chose:

  • 1 onion cut into rings
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • Baby spinach leaves to garnish

Steak

  • ½ kg steak cut into strips
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp BBQ spice
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp crushed ginger
  • ½ tsp red chilli paste
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper

Method

For the bread:

  1. In a large bowl mix together flour, yeast, water and salt (NB do not pour the salt directly over the yeast). Combine to form a soft dough
  2. Thereafter, remove from the bowl, add the olive and knead it until the oil is well absorbed by the dough
  3. Coat your bowl with a little olive oil and put the dough back in. cover with cling film.
  4. Wrap the bowl with a cloth and leave it in a warm dark place to proof. Rest for about 45 to 60 min or until doubled in size
  5. *Knock back the dough and then add in the herbs that you prefer (e.g. , basil or oregano)
  6. Shape your dough, I prefer to lightly oil a baking tin and shape my dough within it
  7. Sprinkle with some rock salt and then leave it to **proof again for about 45-60 min or until doubled in size.
  8. Thereafter add your pre-cooked steak, feta and caramelised onions
  9. Bake at 180ᵒC for 18 to 20 min fan forced
  10. Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil and top with spinach or rocket.

For the topping

  1. In a pot cook the strips half way in the marinade. Use olive oil if necessary
  2. Slice your onion into rings and caramelize in the balsamic vinegar until the balsamic becomes slightly sticky and the onions become soft
  3. Cube your feta and scatter over the top.
  4. Work your topping in my using your fingers as a claw to push the toppings into the dough.

I was very pleased with my bread especially because initially I was terrible at it, but practice really does make perfect!

This bread can be served as a main meal for two accompanied by a fresh side salad, or it can be served as a starter or side dish. However it is very filling so you would have to alter it to your liking.

I’d love to see how yours turns out

*knock back – refers to the action by which you place your dough on a surface and gently knock the
air out of it by patting it with your palms.

**proof- allow the dough to rise under controlled conditions

IMG_4991

Shape into pan

Shape into pan

After second proof

After second proof

Toppings Pre-Bake

Toppings Pre-Bake

IMG_5365IMG_5318IMG_5277

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s