I’m always a sucker for fresh bread and focaccia is a firm favourite in my book. There’s something about the texture of it that wins me over every time… and when it has the sprinkling of sea salt, and herbs on the top, then it’s amazingly wonderful!
Then somebody mentioned garlic focaccia.
Garlic… and focaccia… together. The ray of light shone down, music played. Garlic in focaccia would be heaven in a loaf!
It has taken me a couple of tries to get this recipe where I like it, it’s a good starting point now, but I would not say no to more garlic!
I started by roasting the garlic (well, why not!) and putting it to one side to cool a little.
Flour, yeast and sugar were mixed together, then the garlic, water and salt were added. Focaccia is a very wet dough. Really wet. Any other bread and I’d be shovelling in more flour and worrying that I had mis-scaled something, so don’t be scared. “Knead” it for 5 minutes. Yes, it’s slop, practically impossible to knead, this is where a mixer comes in handy – set it going with the dough hook and it’ll do all the work for you.
Lightly oil a bowl, olive oil if you can, and pour in the dough. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the top and make sure that the dough is covered. I add cling wrap over the top of the bowl too, just in case I missed a spot. Let it double in size.
Rub olive oil all over a quarter sheet tray (or whatever tray you’re using). Make sure every bit of it is covered, you’ll have fun trying to get the bread out the tin if not. Pour the dough into the tin, it doesn’t need knocking down per se, as pouring it into the tin will knock all the air out for you.
Grease up your hands (I wear gloves and then grease them up) and spread out the down, press and spread until it’s relatively even and filling the tin. Using your fingers create the dimples that will collect oil in a minute.. I’m not sure what the benefit of that is, but apparently it’s good thing!
Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the bread, and for this loaf I like a sprinkle of sliced garlic and fresh oregano. And since it’s focaccia it of course needs the sprinkling of sea salt.
It doesn’t necessarily need another rise at this point but I like to let it sit half an hour on top of the oven (a nice warm spot in our house), it lets it rise a little more and creates a nice light texture.
Place it in the oven at 380F and bake until lightly golden. Turn out of the pan while it is still a little warm, I found it easier that way. I’d leave off slicing it until just before serving.