The truth is I have actually made bread before. Funnily enough, it was another recipe that came from my brother's home economics classes that we persevered with for quite a while in our family. I remember my Dad making it quite regularly, even on a camping holiday in Pauanui! Lately the bread machine has renewed my enthusiasm for homemade bread, and I have enjoyed making rolls, using the bread machine to do the mixing and rising.
So anyway. Focaccia. I'm going to be one of those annoying people who says although it takes a bit of time, and a bit of work, it really is quite easy. The time involved is mostly about waiting for it to rise, and doing the right things at the right time, so you need to be at home for a couple of hours. The effort is just the kneading of the bread, which you only need to do once. And the thing is, I enjoy doing this. If you don't enjoy it it would probably be a bit of a hassle, in which you can just rely on other people making your bread for you. Though, as my friend says to her children about new food, you don't have to like it, but you do have to try it once.
The only thing really different about making focaccia is the shape you press it in to just before baking, and the dressings you add to the top. I had intended to add rosemary to mine but I forgot(!). I was partly inspired to make this by an amazing bread I had the other night while eating out with TKR, MKR and SBJ. Next time I'll give that a go, so make sure you come back soon for a more exciting version.
Next time I'll try making my bread a little fatter, and will perhaps cook it for a couple of minutes less than the recipe suggests. But give it a try and see what your oven does, and what your belly thinks, and let me know how it goes.
The following recipe is from Marie Claire "Kitchen."
Pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons dried yeast (or 15g fresh yeast)
1 teaspoon sugar
250ml (1 cup) warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
Put the yeast and sugar in to the warm water and set aside for 10 minutes for it to start frothing.
Measure out the flour and add salt, then stir in the yeasty water and olive oil. Work the ingredients together then move to a floured surface.
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Place in to an oiled bowl, cover with a teatowel, and leave in a warm place for 1 hour.
Turn oven on to 200 degrees. Put the dough on to an oiled 34 x 24 cm tray and press it out until it covers the tray. Use your fingers to make dimples in the dough and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sea salt.
Leave to rise for a further 20 minutes, then bake for 20 minutes.
* For a slightly larger, moister bread, and more accurate salt measurement, I recommend reading my next post, Caramelised Onion and Blue Cheese Focaccia.