Soft, light focaccia, stuffed with sweet and spicy picante peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.
I recently joined the Daring Kitchen, which is a group who challenge bloggers to bake or cook something adventurous and exciting every month. For the month of April, Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise, took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch!
I have only tried making focaccia once before, so I was excited to make it again, and try a different flavour combination!
I found the focaccia reasonably simple to make, the most important thing is to keep the dough wet and sticky, I usually find wet doughs a bit of a nightmare to knead, but this recipe suggests kneading it in the bowl for a while before turning it out, which really helped!
You also need to make sure you give the dough enough time to rise and develop some unevenly distributed air bubbles, so don’t move onto the next stage unless the dough has at least doubled in size!
I have used a Paul Hollywood recipe, for a basic focaccia, but I have added some picante peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil, for extra Italian flavour!
Variations: You could use whatever you want to flavour the bread, some olives would work well, or some toasted pine nuts!
Ingredients: Makes Two Large Loaves
500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 sachets dried easy blend yeast
400ml/14fl oz cold water
extra olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 tbsp chopped picante peppers
- 2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- fresh basil
- grated parmesan cheese
Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml/10½fl oz of the water into a large bowl. Gently stir with a wooden spoon to form a beat the dough in the bowl with a wooden spoon for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining water.
Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre, turn the bowl 80 degrees and repeat the process for about five minutes.
Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Fold in the chopped picante peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, then leave the dough to prove for a further hour.
Grease two large baking sheets. and preheat the oven to 220C. Tip the dough out of the bowl and divide into two portions. Flatten each portion onto a baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one hour.
Drizzle the loaves with oil, and press your fingers into the dough, to form lines of dimples. Then scatter over the fresh basil leaves and parmesan cheese.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. When cooked, drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve hot or warm.