Friday, 12 October 2012

Olive, Rosemary and Parmesan Focaccia


Olive, Rosemary and Parmesan Focaccia.


I have an amazing pizza dough recipe from my mother in law which always seems to make a perfectly spongy pizza.  The pizza is so often requested in our house that I have had to put a ban on having it more than twice a week! I should take this as the highest compliment though.

So I was looking for other uses of this pizza dough recipe, and realised it makes a great bread in its own right. And with a few other added goodies, it would be perfect to go with my slow cooker beef and red wine stew.

My slow cooker will have to be the subject of another post, but best to say it is almost my favourite cooking implement.  Who can resist tender beef stewing in wine with veges all day?!  We almost always have brown rice to accompany the stew, however I was looking for something different.

Serving up a home baked focaccia on a pizza board for some friends definitely worked a treat. So here is my focaccia recipe:


Put 2 teaspoons of yeast (or one yeast sachet if thats what you have) in 1 and a quarter cups of warm water.  This should be warmer than lukewarm but not hot.  Stir in a tiny amount of sugar (1/2 teaspoon or so) and stir for 5 minutes until it starts slightly foaming.
 Now to keep the dough all warm and happy, I like to warm the bowl up a little first.  I find this is easiest to turn the kettle on for a minute, before it is boiling, take it off and pour it on the outside of the bowl that you'll be making the dough in.
 And the fluffy friend Karma is back... scratching up the towel I have him on rather than the carpet which is good news!
 Pour the yeast and water mix into the nicely warmed bowl if you're using an electric mixer with a dough hook.  If you're using your hands to mix it all in, not a problem! You'll just end up with much better muscles than the rest of us.

 Throw in 2.5 cups of plain flour. A teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Unlike me. I accidentally added too much, made the dough too sticky this time, but just added a little more flour and all was right with the world!
 Mix away!
 On a low setting, for about 5 or so minutes.
 Until it looks like this! Again, if the dough is sticking to the sides, just add a little more flour.  But if you keep to the exact quantities, it should be perfect!
 Peel away the dough from the hook (this is a lot of fun).  
 Rub some more olive oil around the sides of the bowl before placing it in a ball.
And let it have a sleep for about half an hour! It likes to keep warm, so cover it, and I also like to keep the base away from the cold bench, by sitting it on another tea towel.
 In the meantime... the rest of us who are not having a nap can get started on the filling.  I am using parmesan, some rosemary from the garden, and some kalamata olives.  These ones are already pitted, but if they are not, just squash the olives with the flat side of a knife, and the seed should come out really easily. You could also caramelise some red onions to throw in or use some fresh thyme (I might try this next time!)
 Grate and chop away.
 And our dough has magically risen and doubled in size! Isn't yeast fun? 
 Now comes the fun part. Pull the dough out and place it on a floured board. (It really helps if you also flour your hands so it doesn't stick to everything)
 And start kneading it in! This might take about 5 minutes to get it spread throughout the dough, but is good arm work!
 Looking good yet? Place it on an oven tray, or pizza tray, which has been coated in some olive oil.
 Drizzle some olive oil on top, or you could paint it on with a brush.
 With your hands, keep spreading the dough out, and keep some nice finger marks in the dough so it has some dimples on top.  Sprinkle a little more parmesan on top and put it in the oven!  You could also leave it to rise for another few minutes here, but my guests are coming in 20 minutes, so I'm out of time (and it looks pretty good anyway).
 Bake for 25 minutes in a 200 degree oven, until it is beautiful and toasty on the outside, but still warm and spongy on the inside. Delicious. Especially with some red wine and beef stew!

Quick recipe- 

Olive, Rosemary and Parmesan Focaccia.

1 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
2 1/2 cups flour (plus extra)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 bottle olives chopped (any type, I used kalamata as I love the rich taste)
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
50g Parmesan grated (or as much as you like)
Extra olive oil and flour

1. Mix sugar and yeast into warm water- leave to foam for 5 minutes. 
2. Into a warmed bowl, pour yeast water, flour, salt and olive oil, mix and knead into dough for about 10 minutes, or use a dough hook on an electric mixer for about 5 minutes if you have one.
3. Cover dough and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.
4. Chop up olives, rosemary and parmesan. 
5. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead in the olives, rosemary and parmesan until spread evenly throughout the dough.
6. Place on an oiled pizza or oven tray, spread out with fingers, brush some olive oil on top, sprinkle with some extra parmesan.
7. Bake for 25 minutes in a 200 degree oven or until browned on top. Turn out onto a pizza board and watch it disappear!

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