Up until 3 weeks ago, I’d only ever made plain white bread. Then something happened and I went slightly bread crazy! I’m being slightly experimental and just trying things. So, this might not be quite right, it’s quite a bit different from the only other focaccia I have ever made. And I’m still not entirely sure it’s not a ciabatta…but my god it tastes good. Hunky Husband, who is a chef, said this is better than from the bakery. Which will do. He’s also tonight announced that the cottage pie I gave him for dinner was the best ever. I’m having a very successful day in the kitchen.
- 400g Strong white bread flour
- 7g Dried active yeast
- 250ml Warm water
- 50ml Oil, plus 4tbsp for kneading and drizzling
- 1/2 Onion
- 1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary
- 30g Cheddar Cheese
Put 250ml of warm water into a jug, and add the oil. Put to one side for now. Also, lightly grease a deep baking tray for later.
Add the flour, yeast, salt and sugar to a large mixing bowl and stir together well. Add the water and oil, stirring it in with a wooden spoon. This is going to be really sticky, but keep stirring until it all comes together. Then while it’s still sticky, but one big lump of sticky, tip out on to a lightly floured surface.
Now, I take my rings off or spend hours picking dough off them. Knead with your hands, and it slowly gets less sticky, but it might take about 10 minutes before you’ve got a nice, easy to work with ball. Just keep going, honestly, it gets there. At which point, all the flour on your surface is gone.
I now pour 2 tbsp. oil on to the surface, and start stretching the dough. I like to lift it, and stretch, turning little bits after each gentle stretch, so the whole dough is worked. When it starts to rip, I put in onto the oiled surface, and knead it back into a nice ball. Then I stretch again. I do this for around 10 minutes. It will start to stretch easier and further each time.
Next, knead it back into a ball, and put it onto the baking tray. Put somewhere warm (I put it in my trusty proofing carrier bag) and leave to proof for 30 minutes.
After this time, take it off the tray, and punch it flat. I love this part. Then knead it for a further 10 minutes. Then place it back on the baking tray, and gently stretch it into the sides. You might not be able to get it all of the way, it springs back. Don’t worry, just take it as far as you can.
Put it back in its bag, and leave for 30 minutes.
While it’s proofing, I chop my onion. Then lightly fry it in a little oil until its soft, before putting in a bowl and leaving to one side. Next, I grate my cheese into another bowl. Then preheat the oven to 180 degrees for later.
Once the 30 minutes are up, remove the dough from its bag. Now, dimple it with your fingers. I tried to do this gently, it did not work, the dough just bounced back with my finger. So really shove them in! I just randomly poke all over the place, it isn’t very neat.
Next, I sprinkle the onion over, then the rosemary, followed by 2 more tbsp. oil drizzled over the top, and finally sprinkle over the grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. But check after 20. If it’s browning too fast, either turn the oven down, or take the bread out, turn it upside down, and put it back for the last 10 minutes.
Then eat it all!
Cheddar, Onion and Rosemary Focaccia
- • 400g Strong white bread flour
- • 7g Dried active yeast
- • 1tsp. Salt
- • 2tsp. Sugar
- • 250ml Warm water
- • 50ml Oil plus 4tbsp for kneading and drizzling
- • 0.5 Onion
- • 1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary
- • 30g Cheddar Cheese
- Pour oil into water, leave to one side
- Lightly oil a deep baking tray
- Add flour, sugar, salt and yeast to a large mixing bowl. Stir together well
- Add the water and oil, mix with a wooden spoon, until forms together in a sticky ball
- Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until easy to work and no longer sticky
- Pour 2tbsp oil onto surface. Lift dough, stretch, and turn, repeating until dough starts to tear
- Put on oiled surface, knead into a ball, then repeat.
- Keep repeating for 10 minutes
- Place ball of dough on baking tray and but somewhere warm (i use a large plastic bag) for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes, punch out the dough, the knead for a further 10 minutes
- Place back on to baking tray, and stretch gently into the corners
- Put back to proof for a further 30 minutes
- During this time, finely chop onion, then lightly fry in a little oil until soft, set to one side
- Grate cheese, and save for later
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees
- Once proofed, dimple the dough with your fingers
- Sprinkle over onion and rosemary, drizzled with 2 tbsp oil, and top with cheese
- Bake for 30 minutes, checking after 20