Basic recipe from BBC Food. Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. It is similar in style and texture to pizza, but not considered to be the same.
Focaccia is popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and salt, and sometimes herbs, and may be topped with onion, cheese and meat, or flavored with a number of vegetables.
Focaccia doughs are similar in style and texture to pizza doughs, consisting of high-gluten flour, oil, water, salt and yeast. It is typically rolled out or pressed by hand into a thick layer of dough and then baked in a stone-bottom or in an OTG (oven - toaster - grill).
A piece of advice at the start itself (this is the lesson learnt from my many disasters) – If the yeast is not fermenting as described / also shown in the picture – never go any further. The flour won’t rise. Get a new pack of yeast and start all over again.
2 tablespoons warm water (30 ml)
1 tablespoon (3 teaspoon)sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (please use fresh packet)
Dilute 1 teaspoon active dry yeast with 2 tablespoons warm water and 3 teaspoons sugar. Gently stir well. Let it stand for 15 minutes, until it fermented / well risen and doubled in quantity (see the photo).
300 g or 1 1/2 cup (Indian standard measuring cup of 200 ml / 8 oz capacity )all purpose flour/ strong white flour (maida)
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
Extra 1 teaspoon oil for greasing
85 – 100 ml water
2 – 3 finely chopped herbs
½ teaspoon salt
Mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. You may like to transfer your mixture to a pastry board or other flat work surface at this stage and prepare the dough there, in traditional Tuscan style. Otherwise, mix the dough in the bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and salt mixture. Pour the blended yeast and water (first add 85 ml water) into the well along with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Gradually add (adjust with 1 – 2 tablespoon water) the rest of the water until a sticky dough is formed (soft and elastic).
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Gather any stray pieces. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding a little extra flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic and the dough no longer sticks to your hand. To see if it is ready, you can carry out the stretch test: pull off a piece of dough, it should be elastic enough not to break quickly when stretched out.
Next accumulate any stray ends and rough sections by 'chafing' your ball of dough. Hold it and curve your hands around it, use your palms to pull at its sides gently while you slowly rotate it, letting your little fingers meet underneath. Do this for five minutes. You should be left with a neat, smooth ball.
Oil a wide bowl and place the dough inside and cover with either oiled cling film or a damp tea towel (Wet towel and dough should not touch each other). Leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size - about 1½ hours depending on the room temperature.
Use your fist to knock it back, then knead it again for a further two minutes.
Leave to rest again, but only for 5-10 minutes.
Shape by placing into a shallow baking tray, using your hands to spread it out to a depth of about 1.5cm/¾in, then allow to rise again, covered with a tea towel, until doubled in size - this will take about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
Create a dimpled effect by repeatedly pushing your fingertips gently into the surface of the dough. Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon) evenly over the dough. Sprinkle over the sea salt and push the small pieces of rosemary into the dimples of the dough.
Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is crusty and cooked through to the base. Keep aside to cool and serve.