Monday, July 7, 2014

focaccia bread

 Though it's not something I've planned, I seem to be inspired recently to share food, food and more food here on the blog. It could be because it's summer and there are so many delicious local treats to be enjoyed. Or it could be because I've been going through my recipe catalog lately and filling it out a bit.

What I mean by that is this: I've always believed that everyone should have a catalog, or collection of recipes that they love and can do really well. Though I do want my collection to include some fancy and complicated dishes, right now I'm really focusing on getting the basics down to a point where I can do them really well. I really believe that some things just taste better homemade...and I want a set of recipes to prove it! So far, in my kitchen this includes: salad dressings, pesto, jam, granola, salsa and (of course) a giant collection of delicious seasonal soups. 

Recently, I've also been intrigued by bread. Back in Vancouver, I had a bread machine and used to bake our bread fresh every week. Here in Germany, there are bakeries on every corner, many of them selling local and organic breads baked fresh. While I do like supporting these more locally based bakeries, I also want to get back into the habit of baking our bread a little more often. 

Recently, I've been making this focaccia recipe to go with simple, vegetable-heavy meals. We've been having fun with adding different herbs and making spreads to eat it with. Here's the basic recipe I've adapted and made our own in case you want to give it a try! 

Step One:

In a large bowl, pour two cups of flour. Form a well in the middle. Mix 1 tbsp of yeast with 100ml of luke-warm water in a smaller bowl. Let this sit for several minutes.

Step Two:

Next, pour your yeast mixture into the well and gently fold in the flour from the edges of the bowl. Add another 100ml of water, a lug of olive oil, and a pinch of salt to the flour mixture. Knead this for several minutes until you have a nicely mixed dough. Leave your dough to sit covered for about 30-40 minutes.

Step Three: 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (C). Stretch out your dough by hand and place on a baking sheet. Make several indents in the surface with your finger tip. Brush on some more olive oil and add any salt/dried herbs you want on top. (We like to use oregano or rosemary). You could also try tomatoes, olives or even parmesan cheese as toppings!

Step Four: 

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until your bread is golden brown. Remove, let sit for 2-3 minutes and cut into quarters or sixths. Serve with a spread or simply oil for dipping.


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