I made bread! Well it’s not really news, and definitely not something that I haven’t attempted before (yep, so what if it’s just banana bread!). But this time, I’m really excited to report that I made bread: fluffy (oh yes, I conquered volume!), white, soft and wonderfully chewy bread. A golden top brushed with garlic infused olive oil and spotted with rosemary and sweet, mushy cloves of garlic – this focaccia is something I’m very proud of.
I have been through quite a few books for baking bread. I love the detailed step by step instructions in Peter Reinhart’sBread Baker’s Apprentice; but sometimes, these very elaborate explanations make me a little nervous and I run to something less complicated. Nothing beats the simplicity of 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood. It was the first book I ever bought on the subject and the focaccia recipe from this book is something I’m happy I’ve stuck by. I made this bread 3 years ago when I was a bread-baking noob and I made this bread again yesterday (still a bread-baking noob), and it did not fail me.
When I saw that the recipe used oil that has been steeped with garlic overnight, I knew I was on the right track. However, to speedup the process, I peeled and pierced eight or nine cloves of garlic and poured hot olive oil over them instead of waiting all night. They sizzled for a good five minutes after that while the flavours of the oil and garlic infused together and the house smelled as if an Italian grandma was rustling up a meal using her favourite bottle of olive oil. I let it sit for about twenty minutes before I used the oil for the dough.
I must tell you that bread with garlic + olive oil + rosemary = world peace bread. And this bread dipped in homemade pesto is something I wouldn’t mind eating everyday for the rest of my life.
Rosemary and Garlic Oil Focaccia
8 cloves of garlic, pierced through the centre (feel free to cut down on the garlic, if you came in late, you should know that I’m garlic obsessed)
100 ml olive oil
500g strong white flour (I used all-purpose)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast or 20g fresh yeast
a few sprigs of rosemary
- Place the garlic cloves in a bowl and pour hot oil over them. Let it rest for 20 minutes before you use it.
- Put the flour, yeast, salt and most of the oil and the water into the bowl of a KitchenAid and knead for 4-5 minutes until the dough comes together. It should clear from the sides of the KitchenAid, but still stick to the bottom of the bowl (tip from Peter Reinhart: see complicated recipes do teach you stuff as well!)
- Let it rest for an hour, minimum. I left mine in the refrigerator overnight.
- Punch down the dough and roll it out into a rectangle of about 2.5cm/1 inch thickness.
- You can either make this free-form on a baking sheet brushed with oil, or fit it into a 11 inch square pan.
- Poke dents into the dough, brush with garlic oil, sprinkle with salt and rosemary.
- Bake in a preheated oen aat 220C/425F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 200F.
- Eat warm!