|A plain, ordinary focaccia - nonetheless, a gorgeous bit of bread!|
On Sunday I returned from a fantastic walking weekend in mid-Wales - with 35 other blokes, here. We do this every six months or so - basically eating, drinking and walking from Friday midday until Sunday lunchtime.
On Saturday evening, after dinner, for a bit of light entertainment - and education - I generally do a breadmaking demo. On this occasion I'd brought along a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, so I thought we'd make a couple of focaccias - one plain, with just olive oil, and the other with s-d-tomatoes.
The recipe is simplicity itself - as with any bread you can make it as easy or as complicated as you wish. With the audience I had, who'd just had a very good meal - preceded by a goodly intake of beer, accompanied with wine and followed by a very good port - and were keen to get stuck into the card games that were always an integral part of these weekends, I went for the easy option!
I enlisted the help of one of the newcomers to the group, Charlie, who was keen to make his own bread - he made the loaf at the top of the post.
So the ingredients for each loaf were two mugs of bread flour, with a bit of salt, 2/3rds of a mug of lukewarm water and a good teaspoon of yeast, along with a glug of olive oil.
Mixed altogether into a dough - takes about 2 minutes - kneaded for a further two minutes, pressed into a rough circle about 1.5cm thick and placed onto a prepared baking tray.
With the plain one a few holes were simply pressed in the top of the dough with the fingertips which were then filled with olive oil.
The second one was divided into 9 sections, a la noughts and crosses. A whole sun-dried tomato was place in each of these squares and pressed down a bit. (It would have been better to nick the surface of the dough first, to allow the tomatoes a better purchase, as several fell off the top of the loaf during baking!)
While the dough was proving, I began a game of chess - which resulted in the dough being horrifically over-proved. However, we (only just!) managed to get away with it!
|Shaped and put to prove|
|Over proved and over baked, I'm afraid - the hazards of an unfamiliar oven|
The s-d-tomato focaccia was not only over-proved, it was over-baked and the tomatoes were singed on top - but it didn't seem to make any difference to the flavour of the loaf, which was excellent!
Just goes to show the forgiving nature of breadmaking - you can get away with most things!