Focaccia recipe by Artisan Foodworks

PUBLISHED: 00:00 18 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:53 18 July 2014

Focaccia Baked

Focaccia Baked

not Archant

Focaccia is a great summer bread to be made when tomatoes and rosemary are local and in season to get the very best flavours.

Julie Peeks, Artisan FoodworksJulie Peeks, Artisan Foodworks

Julie Peeks is head of production at Artisan Foodworks. She says: ‘The finest seasonal local products, long summer evenings, barbecues and al fresco dining are ideal ingredients for Focaccia.

‘Our focaccia is made with an overnight sponge (or Biga in Italy) which brings a greater depth of flavour to the bread and a softer dough. All this takes is a little planning but the extra effort is certainly worth the results.’

Ingredients for two focaccia

Overnight Sponge

Water: 84g

Fresh Yeast: 4g

Strong White Flour: 77g

Final Dough

Water: 285g

Olive Oil: 30g

Yeast: 6g

Strong White Four: 410g

Salt: 10g

Overnight Sponge: 165g

Cherry tomatoes: 50g – 100g

Dessert spoon of chopped fresh basil

Sea Salt for sprinkling

Olive oil for oiling tins and brushing onto the Focaccia

Method:

To make the overnight sponge mix together the three ingredients ensuring all of the flour and yeast is combined into the water. Place the mix into a bowl and place in the ‘fridge overnight, or if your kitchen is cool you can leave the sponge out. The sponge will bubble as the yeasts work through the nutrients in the flour and this will be the base to make your bread. The sponge can be kept for up to 18 hours, depending on the temperature.

The following day mix together the water, yeast, oil, flour and salt in the bowl of your food mixer. When weighing out take care to keep the salt away from the yeast, as salt can slow down the action of the yeast and even kill it. Leave the sponge aside for the time being. With the dough hook attachment mix on low speed for 3 minutes until all of the ingredients come together. Once the ingredients are combined increase the mixer speed to medium for a further 3 minutes. Add the overnight sponge and finish the mixing process on medium for a further 1 or 2 minutes until the dough is smooth, sticky and quite loose, although when the dough is pulled there should be some strength to it.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for up to 1.5 to 3 hours (depending on temperature), or until the dough has risen to at least twice its original volume.

Whilst the dough is proving prepare two 10 inch cake tins by swilling round 2 tablespoons of olive oil in each tin, leaving all of the oil in the tin.

Once proved, divide the dough into two one pound (450g) pieces and on a lightly floured surface shape into two rounds, cover with parchment or greaseproof paper and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

After the resting, stretch the dough into two 10 inch rounds. The dough will offer resistance, when this happens leave it to relax for a minute or so and you will find it will allow you to shape further.

Place the dough into the well-oiled tins and leave to prove for a further 1-1.5 hours. Once risen, push halved tomatoes firmly into the dough and sprinkle with basil. Place the tins into a 220C oven for about 20 minutes or until the tops, sides and bottom are a richly brown coloured.

Finally, brush the focaccia with more olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Leave to cool, remove from the tin and enjoy with a fine Prosecco or wine of your choice.

Artisan Foodworks, of Burscough, holds breadmaking lessons and open days. For more information contact Julie or David Peeks at 0845 860 2141.

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