Hello my lovelies, how was your weekend? Ours was filled with swimming, a school market day, a little relaxing, a bit of work and a little rain to stave off a little of the drought (still a drought really need much more rain than we had), oh and a rare Auckland earthquake or two!
Now, while the earthquake didn’t exactly rock my world for I am apparently so firmly attached to happiness that it takes a lot to rock my boat, I have been rocked by Betty (ahem that sounds a little weird but anyhoo…)
Since purchasing Betty, I have been extra busy baking up a storm. I love me some natural living and being a bit of a Nanna and I love baking. Probably partially because I have a sweet tooth, but also because baking is hugely rewarding and fun and Ro and Pershi love helping and eating the treats too!
I also covet a gazillion cooking books and am getting closer to the number every week, and the other week I fell upon a book called Mama’s Italian Cookbook and while it is not by a famous chef/baker/personality (in fact it doesn’t have a noted author per se), it had some wonderful simple recipes and so of course I had to have it.
The first recipe that I tried was the Focaccia bread, because I was making a soup and thought it would make the perfect best friend for the soup! It indeed did and it was such a simple recipe that I had to share! This bread is so soft, delicious and the taste so heavenly!
3 1/2 C high grade flour (e.g. bread flour)
1 1/2 tsp active yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp rosemary (fresh or dried)
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 C lukewarm water
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
Mix together flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl (I used Betty for the entire process but by hand is also fine), stir in rosemary. Make a well in the centre. Mix 3 Tbsp olive oil with the water and pour into the well. Mix the ingredients together until it forms a soft dough. I then left Betty to mix the dough for 10 minutes or you can knead by hand on a lightly floured board for 10 minutes or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
Allow the dough to rest and rise in the mixing bowl covered by a clean dish towel and setting in a warm place until doubled in size. After this, turn the dough out and knead for 1 minute.
Preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F. Oil a cookie sheet. Gently roll the dough out to a circle or slight oval about 30cm or 12inches in diameter. Place on the cookie sheet, cover with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Make indents over the dough’s surface every 5cm/2 inch or so using the handle of a wooden spoon. Brush the surface with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. You can also add red onion rings and more rosemary if you want.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes until well-risen and golden brown.
Transfer to wire rack to cool and serve slightly warm (with butter and a lovely soup was how we enjoyed it).
NB. this bread lasted well over the few days it took to eat it.
Enjoy my lovelies, it is rather easy and quite successful as a dough and bread and thus I do recommend it and shall be making it throughout our winter season which is ahead of us! For all you lucky people heading towards a summer season soon enough, this would be delicious served with antipasto platters and olive oil and dukkah dips!