One day about a year or so ago I was idly tootling around on the internet trying to keep myelf amused when I stumbled across Delicious Days. It was a revelation. I had no idea that food blogs existed and I had never even imagined such a thing. Such a narrow world view seems utterly bizarre now.
Anyhow, at that time Days was featuring a recipe for focaccia. I just could not resist the rave reviews and determined to try it for myself. Am I ever glad I did. It is quite simply a fantastic recipe. I have made it dozens of times over now and I think I will be making it forever.
What's so good about it. Well, for one thing the crumb of the bread is beautifully soft, springy and moist. For another, this is topped and tailed by a crunchy olive oil crust. For a third, you can go mad with the toppings to create endless tasty variations - olives, rosemary, herbs. My clear preference is for nothing more than a sprinkling of plain sea salt. I think it adds superbly to the soft yeasty taste of the bread.
As if that is not enough, it is the easiest of easy bread recipes. There is no kneading. The dough should be of an almost pourable consistency. Nicky gives a good demonstration of this in her post. There is only one rising which is usually accomplished well within the hour. It only needs 15-20 minutes in the oven. So easy.
I have made a few adaptations to the recipe Nicky provides. I put this down to the difference in Australian and German ingredients. This is how I make it.
(adapted from Delicious Days)
In a large bowl, dissolve 15gm of fresh yeast in 1 cup of tepid water. Add 1 cup of bread flour and 1 tspn of salt. Stir for a few minutes.
Add another cup of flour and mix. To get the right consistency, I usually have to add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of tepid water. The dough should be soft, sticky and almost liquid. Stir for another 2-3 minutes.
Set aside in a warm spot to prove. The dough should be well risen - I usually leave it for 40 minutes to an hour depending on the weather. Pour dough into a 19x25cm high sided pan well coated with olive oil. Take care to keep as many bubbles as possible in the mixture. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with preferred topping.
Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 230C oven. Brown the top under a hot grill if necessary.