Monday, 23 May 2011

Simple pleasures - Focaccia

My Blog title originated as a joke in my home as i do 99% of all the cooking, but it is how i genuinely feel about food. If you give someone a dish of something good you are telling them that you care about them. All food lovers and cooks should be bound by this motto.

Homemade focaccia bread
This will introduce your children to the joys (magic, even) of making bread. We went to Rome recently and made this sandwich for a picnic. The mozzarella was one of the best things i've ever eaten.  Nothing beats freshly baked bread and of course you can make a plain loaf but this focaccia, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt is fantastic. Kids love making bread and it’s a great opportunity to show them the simple pleasures of food.

500g strong white bread flour
300ml warm water (37 degrees)
1tbsp sugar
1tsp salt
7g sachet dried yeast
1tbsp olive oil
1tsp sea salt
  1.  Place the water, sugar and yeast in a jug, stir and leave to stand some place warm for 10 minutes (it will start to react).
  2. In a large mixing bowl put the flour and salt together and make a well in the centre. Add the yeasty water and mix, initially with a wooden spoon, then with your hands. You should have a smooth dough with no cracks. Knead for 10 minutes.
  3.  Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film and put somewhere warm for an hour or so until it doubles in size.
  4.  Knock back the dough i.e. push the air out of it and then shape into 1 large or 2 small rectangles. Place on a greased baking sheet and, if you like, press indentations into the dough. Leave to prove for 20 minutes. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5.  Eat warm or leave to cool slightly, slice through the middle and fill with mozzarella cheese, sliced tomato and parma ham.

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