Baking bread is addictive. Every bread book says so. I don’t know what it is about, but even though bread is fussy and doesn’t always turn out as it should it’s the most satisfying of all bakes.
I bought lately a few cookbooks. Apparently, nature needs balance, so even if I restricted myself from buying new cookbooks for a few month I have a feeling that a number of cookbooks at the end will be the same, as I easily catch up with following months. One of my new treasures is Brilliant bread by James Morton. The reviews I’ve read were amazing, they said it’s the best bread book ever. I have to agree, but I don’t have a big bread book collection.
James’s book is warm and straightforward, his voice is so natural like you would have chat with him in a kitchen. Photos are great and where needed there is step-by-step photo tutorial. The book covers all the basics from what ingredients you should use and why, how to knead the dough, how to shape it, how to make sourdough, basically everything you should know about bread. Did I say bread too many times?
I’m still baking my way through the first chapter of basics bread, the basic white bread is really good, crusty rolls turned out ok, even though almost all bread rolls I bake are heavy like rocks (it must be bad karma or something), pizza was delicious, wholemeal bread is just proving and focaccia got approval from Tomek’s Italian friend.
This focaccia is soft and tasty, it has a crumb that makes me happy, it looks like a proper focaccia and was pretty easy to make. It takes some time to make it, but most of it you spend just waiting.
I’ve made two versions, the basic one and garlic and olives.
Foccacia with olives and garlic
For 33×20cm pan
- 50g olive oil, extra for drizzling
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 500g strong white flour
- 10g salt
- 7g fast-action yeast
- 400g tepid water
- a handful of green olives, chopped
- leaves from a few thyme sprigs
- sea salt for sprinkling
Place olive oil and garlic into a small pot and let it simmer over low heat for a few minutes. The garlic should be cooked but not golden. Let it cool. In a large bowl place flour. With your fingers rub in yeast on one side and salt on the opposite. (yeast get killed in contact with salt).
Add water and 40g of garlic olive oil and stir it with a wooden spoon until everything combines nicely. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or cling film and let it rest for 40 minutes until it rises a little.
Stretch and fold a few times with oiled hands until dough starts hold its shape better. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or cling film and let it rest for 50 minutes until it doubles in size.
Oil the baking pan and spread the dough evenly. Let it prove for 50 minutes. 20 minutes before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 220°C. Dab the dough with your fingers, drizzle it with remaining oil, sprinkle with olives, thyme, and salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.