I really, really like to bake and especially to bake bread. I don’t even know why…Maybe because for my people bread has a central role in their lives and on family’s tables. There is something almost magical and mythical about bread and I remember my grand ma each time I feel freshly baked bread’s aroma.
I love to put my fingers into the warm and beautiful smelling dough and to knead it until is ready to grow…and grow…and grow….and to magically be transformed into a happy round bread.
Today I woke up together with the sun. I don’t know why and what made the sleep ran so fast and early from me and since it was too early, I thought I might bake some focaccia. You know, already, my passion for Mediterranean Sea and for the herbs the sea shores grow, so I have chosen focaccia especially because I felt happy to see the sun shining again after so many rainy days.
(this dough looks like a beautiful full moon, isn’t it?)
I like the rain, don’t get me wrong. As a person so close with nature and earth, I know we would all die if, one day, the rain would stop to fall. But lately there was too much of it. And nothing compares to a beautiful sunny day after almost 2 weeks of rain, isn’t it?
Our breakfast today was a celebration of the sun and earth, that’s why I prepared a sunny egg (one for each) sprinkled with thyme and parmesan, Mediterranean focaccia with rosemary, thyme and sun dried tomatoes, together with young green lettuce from our vegetable garden.
Let’s talk first about focaccia, the main character of our today story. Before telling you what you need to prepare it, I’m gonna tell you that I didn’t use any measures. I usually make bread how I feel, I let the ingredients, the eye and my gut to guide me, but I will try to do my best to give you some measurements.
What you need
*about 500 grams of flour (make it more if you want a bigger quantity of dough)
*dry yeast (7 grams)
*1 teaspoon of salt
*1 spoon of olive oil
*1/2 spoon of dried oregano for the dough (you can add some dried basil too, if you like)
*about 250 ml of warm water
*a large bowl
*fresh rosemary and thyme, olive oil (and a pastry brush), some big salt for the “topping”
*you can put on top of your focaccia onion, tomatoes, cheese, anything you like
How to do it
Once you have time (cause you’ll need a bit of time), the rest is a real and simple joy. So, let’s do it together!
1. In a large bowl add the flour, yeast, dried oregano (or other herbs) and salt and mix them with a spoon. Make a hole in the center and add the olive oil. Stir everything and add, then, the water little by little, stirring with the spoon. When the ingredients are tied a little, use your hand to create the dough. Your dough must be elastic, not sticky. If it happens, add flour until your dough gets out from your hand.
2. Move the dough on your working board and start to knead it for about 10 minutes. To find out if the dough is ready, transform it into a ball, put a finger in flour and press it a little on the dough. If it comes back, then is ready.
3. Put it back in the bowl, sprinkle it with flour, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest and grow in a warm place until it doubles its volume (for about 30 or 45 minutes)
4. When is ready, give it a punch to make the air bubbles get out, then make a ball out of it and stretch it with a rolling pin.
5. Put the flat dough in a tray and with the finger press the dough to create dimples. Let it grow for about 15 minutes.
6. With the aid of the pastry brush grease your focaccia with olive oil, then add the herbs and salt, and put it in the preheated oven (on 180 degrees Celsius) for about 45 minutes.
7. After this time increase the heat on 200 degrees and let it there for another 10 or 15 minutes until is ready