A tale of two best friends on opposite sides of the world and their quest to cook everything from
Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cook's Companion'

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Olive Focaccia

Ok, so this recipe is a variation of Stephanie's Olive Bread, pg 192. I have decided it is my goal to try and use most of the food in my pantry before we move house (which could be as soon as five weeks away). The more we consume means the less we have to move. It also means I can start with fresh products when we move into the new place. The disadvantage of this method means that my first grocery shop will probably cost hundreds of dollars. Oh well, you can't have it both ways.

My whole body was sore from grape picking the day before, so hubby came in handy with this one. Ordinarily, I would knead the dough with the dough hook of my stand mixer, but unfortunately that was at Mum's in "storage", so I had to improvise. Sometimes hubby does come in handy ;) and this was definitely one of those occasions. I set him up on my marble tile that I use for rolling out my dough (thanks, Mum) and he was at it. I used less olives than the recipe suggested in the dough, as we studded them across the top of the focaccia instead, which looked kind of cute. The oven we have in the apartment is very good at retaining heat, and maintaining temperature, so I have always found it good for baking. I will definitely miss the oven once we move out, although it is is probably a little smaller than my ideal oven. We shall see what we end up with in the new house.

Olive Focaccia (Printable Recipe)
600g unbleached strong flour
150g stoned black olives, halved
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant dried yeast
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1/3 cup olive oil
300ml warm water
sea salt

Mix the flour, olives, salt, yeast and rosemary in a large bowl, then make a well in the centre. Add oil to the warm water and pour the liquid into the well. Stir to mix well. Turn the contents of the bowl onto an oiled workbench and knead with lightly oiled hands for 15 minutes (or this is when you substitute the electric mixer with the dough hook fitted), until the dough is springy and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a draught-free place for it to prove and it should double in size within about 45 minutes.

Transfer the dough onto an oiled baking tray and flatten it out until it is about 2-3 cm thick. Scatter the dough with flaked sea salt and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Let the dough recover for about 30 minutes, then bake it in a very hot oven (250°C) until browned and crisp. I found that this took about 25 minutes. Adam did a marvellous job with this under my tutelage, and I think he had lots of fun helping out with it and getting bragging rights to our guests!

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