I came I saw and was conquered.
I never knew how enticing the aroma of freshly baked bread stuffed with olives and basil and garlic and slathered with extra virgin olive oil is.
Up to a little while ago, I used olive oil as massage oil…and used it liberally on my hair too. Consequently, every time I cooked in extra virgin olive oil or used it as a salad dressing…I could only think of oiled hair.
Not the most appetizing thing on the surface of the earth.
So I decided to make a change.
Not in the cooking medium, but in the massage oil. I converted to extra virgin coconut oil.
That now puts me off banana chips for life!
But at least the smell does not haunt me anymore.
As to where I get the extra virgin coconut oil…south India!
So I can now slather my bread with olive oil instead of butter.
And I am happy!
Fresh herbs do something wonderful to bread. And a little bit of garlic goes a long way. The last two months I have been requesting the Morphy Richards dealer to give me two extra baking trays, but to no avail…he absolutely refused.
So I did what Indians are famous for...JUGAD!
If you are not Indian…that may take a little explaining...jugad means not the real thing, but an ersatz arrangement.
I got a local trunk maker to make me two sheets...these act as my cookie sheets and they were crying out for something more wholesome than cookies,.
So focaccia it was.
I saw and lusted after this bread here, now I know one thing…whoever wants to buy me a gift…see my wish list on flipkart.!
Beautifully rustic bread that needs no knives…just a soup to be dunked into.
Not very complicated, but a word of advice…follow the instructions.
I used fresh basil and fresh aniseed leaves. And a whole lot of garlic. And I topped it with dried rosemary.
The most important thing to note…invest in a bread bin and do not refrigerate the bread.
This is also part of my quest to look for the new flavors that jaggery/gur can bring out in bread.
Focaccia Bread with Garlic,Basil Rosemary and Olives ...
2 ½ cups or 330 Gms flour
1 tbsp brown sugar or jaggery/gur
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
8 -10 cloves of garlic (I used much, much more)
50 Gms olives (I used pimento stuffed olives)
Handful of basil leaves
1 tsp dried rosemary
For the starter
300 gms flour (2 tbsp less 2 ½ cups)
2 tbsp gluten
1 ½ tsp dried yeast
420 mils warm water
Start with a big bowl that can hold at least 2 ½ l of water.
Place the ingredients for the starter in the bowl and whisk them together. Just ensure you don’t have any lumps of flour.
Cover with cling film and set aside in someplace warm.
In about an hour, the mix doubles.
Now push up your sleeves and pouring the flour, the brown sugar-I used gur ki shakker (eliminates the mess of grating the jaggery) salt and the oil.
Knead for about 5 minutes till the dough is nice and elastic. You may need more flour to make a good dough.
Cover and set aside to prove. At this stage I dumped the dough in the fridge, as plans for soup and bread dinner were suddenly altered and replaced with chicken and rotis.
Next afternoon, the dough was ready to spill out…
So I got it out of the fridge, and let it rest till it came to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
The two cookie sheets, over which I liberally sprinkled flour and set aside.
The dough out on the counter top, and spread with hands.
Sprinkle the chopped garlic, some halved olives and a lot of basil all over. Fold first, 1/3 to the inside and then cover with the rest.
So you have three layers. So you have a rectangular shaped pillow like thing. Now cut into two.
One on each sheet, and spread the dough with your hands, my focaccia measured 12 inches by 7 inches and was a centimeter thick. This was my second attempt, the first time I did not spread the focaccia enough.
Stud the bread with the olives and sprinkle the rosemary.
Pop the two sheets into the oven. I also popped in some garlic to allow it to roast as well.
After 35 minutes, the bread was DONE!
Out and slathered with some extra virgin olive oil.
I am heading straight for a hyper mart when I come to Delhi next…I want sea salt crystals!
See the crumb…
And tasted so good, no need for any butter or soup or any accompaniment.
This was my second try…and definitely will not be my last.
Loved the bread…
I am off yeast spotting too...
Thank you Deeba for such a wonderful bread.
So what are you baking today???