Oh my god it is 24th again the time to make the Bread for the month for the “Knead to Bake” group and I had completely forgotten about it till I saw a delicious looking “Focaccia Caprese” appear on my facebook timeline from “Spiceroots” blog. I checked my calendar and almost let out a groan that I had missed the date completely.
Focaccia is a my favorite Bread not because it is so easy to make but it is also very rustically Italian. I have an affinity with Italian food because it reminds me so much of Indian food. Every region in Italy has its own cuisine just like India, Italians are loud like us, love food and do a lot of hand gesturing like we Indians too and the food, oh the food is to die for. So what is not to love.
The theme for this month was a “Focaccia Caprese” where the Caprese is a topping of fresh Mozzarella cheese with Basil & Tomato from the region of Capri. Unfortunately I had waited too late to bake and I had no Mozzarella cheese in fridge, infact I had no Cheese at all. Nor did I have any Basil. But by now I was in the mood to smell some fresh Bread and desperately wanted to make it. Thankfully with Focaccia you can really go wild with your toppings and try any variation that catches your fancy. so I decided to just pluck some fresh rosemary from my garden and sprinkle that on the bread.
And the result I must admit was mind blowing. The bread was so fresh and delicious that I was almost thankful of having the opportunity to make something so beautiful . Between the husband and I we finished the entire Bread in one go. Strangely it was not very heavy either and the Eggplant Parmigiana that I made it in fresh Tomato sauce was soaked up the Bread greedily. I personally feel that everyone must try this Bread once just to feel how freshness tastes like. It will definitely be your go to Bread for any occasion.
For the actual recipe of Focaccia Caprese please visit Aparna’s blog. I have followed the same recipe for the dough just changed the topping. You can also just use the Herb oil detailed in the original recipe as a topping, I tried it and that was also very good.
For the Dough:
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour (I used plain flour)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil, use very good quality Olive oil, I never compromise on this)
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
A little more olive oil for brushing the dough
For the Topping:
Sea Salt and good quality Olive oil to garnish
1) Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky. Alternatively you can just knead the dough with your hands.
2) Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well-oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.
3) You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller ones. When ready to bake roll each portion out (or press out) evenly and then transfer the dough to the baking tins. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.
4) Sprinkle the Olive Oil, Rosemary and Sea Salt on top of the bread and bake at 210C (410F) for about 20 – 25 minutes till done and is beginning to turn golden brown. The best way to check if your Bread is done is my tapping it to check if it makes a hollow sound. Serve warm with Soup, on its own as a light snack or as a sandwich bread.