Our culinary story began with making breads. We got a bread machine and after a couple of weeks experimenting with it itself we found out it was much more fun to make bread from scratch with your hands and the oven only. And there it all began... French baguettes, rustic rye breads, white breads, pitas, whole wheat loaves - and finally we came across Italian focaccias which immediately became our favourites. Being rather thin and at the same time combining soft crumb and crispy crust they are like all the goodness of breads in one little piece. Plus oily texture of the dough makes the most tender flavour one can imagine. Absolute love.
Ingredients (makes 4 focaccias ~15 cm in diameter):
2 2/3 cups bread flour 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar 1 cup lukewarm water 3 tablespoons olive oil 7 g active dry yeast 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons cold water for brushing
First make the dough. Sift the flour and salt on your work surface and make a well in the center. Add sugar and yeast to the water and set aside for a minute for the yeast to start working. After the liquid becomes bubbly pour it into the well and start mixing the flour into the liquid with a fork. When it becomes too hard to work with the fork flour your hands and continue mixing with your hands. Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for an hour.
In an hour the dough will double in size. You will have to knead it once more to let all the bubbles of air out. Now the dough is ready to work with.
Divide it into 4 parts and with your hands only form flat circles of your future focaccias. They can be not ideal circles, it doesn't matter, but they should be rather thin - not more than 1 cm thick.
Preheat the oven to 250 C and place your focaccias into a baking tray lined with parchment paper and lightly floured. Then with your fingers press the dough down a bit so that you'll leave several "fingerprints" on focaccias.
Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of cold water in a cup until emulsified. With this liquid generously brush your focaccias. After that you can either put them into the oven or add a topping and then bake.
Here we chose 4 different toppings for our focaccias
Let your focaccias rise a bit for 20-25 minutes and then put them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy. After 10 minutes of baking remove from the oven and either carefully brush the breads with mixture of oil and water or if you're feeling you can make a mess in a way your toppings are arranged - simply spray the focaccias with olive oil and return them to the oven.
What you get now is 4 incredibly flavourful tender breads, mild inside, crispy crust, comforting, filling and simply adorable. Get your family together and dig in!
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