Fresh Focaccia Bread

This light Italian flat bread is prepared from a soft dough enriched with olive oil. Traditionally, extra olive oil is sprinkled over the dough before baking—sometimes very generously—but this recipe uses just enough to give a good texture and flavour.

Number of servings : 8 (1 round, flat bread)

Prep time: 15 minutes + about 45 minutes rising

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Type of meal : | Breads and muffins | Breads and muffins

Special diet : | Low calorie

Ingredients

3 cups white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope (about 7 g) quick-rising yeast
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cups tepid water
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions

  1. Put the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt and yeast. Make a well in the middle and pour in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the water. Gradually mix the flour into the oil and water, using a wooden spoon at first, then by hand, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Keep the dough moving by turning, punching and folding it to prevent it from sticking. Sprinkle the surface with a little extra flour, if necessary, but try not to add too much as this will make the dough dry.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and slap it onto a greased cookie sheet. Roll out or push the dough out with your hands into a circle about 8 inches in diameter and f inch thick. Cover loosely with a clean dish towel, tucking the ends under the cookie sheet. Leave in a warm place until the dough doubles in thickness, which can be about 45 minutes, depending on the room temperature.
  4. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF). Uncover the bread. Pour a little hand-hot water into a cup, then dip your fingers into the water and press into the risen dough to make deep dents all over the top; wet your fingers each time, to leave the top of the loaf moist. Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over the bread and sprinkle with the coarse salt.
  5. Bake the focaccia until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes, then wrap it in a clean dish towel to soften the crust. Serve warm or leave to cool completely. The bread can be kept in a plastic bag up to 2 days.

Health Bites: Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which might help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Nutritional information:

Fresh Focaccia Bread
Fresh Focaccia Bread