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Italian Focaccia Bread

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I first had a Focaccia Bread during our Cyprus Trip in August 2013 and fell in love at the first bite! Since then wanted to have another bite after baking it myself and it took me 2 years to finally gather the courage and bake it!

I bought sun dried tomatoes, olives, dry rosemary and instant yeast in the weekend determined to give it my best shot. I searched Sikandalous Cuisine for a good recipe but unfortunately could not find any recipe which I felt comfortable with so took Google’s refuge and found this easy recipe which I thought I could manage: Recipe : Italian Whole Wheat Focaccia. This is Ms. Karishma Pais‘ blog.

This weekend was spent mostly in the kitchen; starting with the Safed Maans, followed by Masala Calamari and then Prawns Tom Yum Soup but come what may I was gonna bake this bread with full rigour & determination and maybe that’s why the result was so awesome! I followed the original recipe except for some minor changes and when I put the prepared the dough into the oven I felt like a school kid waiting for his/her results! The aroma of the freshly baking bread made our entire home so fragrant and my excitement kept rising. Finally I pulled out the bread with a final prayer on my lips and waited for it to cool off.

The moment I sliced the first piece I knew my attempt was successful and my moment of truth had arrived! I was so elated, I can’t describe in words. My wife also loved the flavour and the texture of the bread immensely. The best part was Abhay also had couple of bites! I shared my excitement with my family and some of my friends.

I know some of you might be feeling that I am a mad man but believe me folks it was quite big a deal for me!

My baking fear has given way to a new found excitement and I hope to learn and bake new breads in the near future!

Now that you have waited quite a bit for the recipe I won’t waste any further time!

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour (Atta)
1 cup all purpose flour (Maida)
1 cup + 3 tablespoon warm water
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoon Rosemary (dry)
2 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes (1 tbsp finely chopped for mixing, 1 tbsp sliced for topping)
6 – 8 olives for garnish

Method:

1. Dissolve the sugar in 3 tbsp warm water, add yeast and let it stand for 15 minutes. The yeast should froth well. If it doesn’t froth, the bread won’t rise and you need to repeat this process to get the best results.

2. Sieve together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt.

3. From the ¼ cup olive oil, reserve 1 tablespoon for drizzling on the dough before it goes into the oven. Mix the rest in the flour mix.

4. Add the oregano, rosemary, 1 tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes and add warm water; knead for 10 minutes till the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

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5. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl; cover and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place (I put it inside a microwave oven covered with a moist cloth). The dough should have risen atleast twice the original size and must be very fluffy!

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6. Cover a baking pan with aluminium foil pan and grease it with olive oil. Transfer the dough onto the pan, spread it properly, dimple the dough about a dozen times with the tip of your finger pointing straight down and leave for 30 minutes covered with a moist cloth in room temperature.

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7. When the dough has risen well, gently press in the sliced sundried tomatoes and olives into the holes. Let them go into the dough, otherwise they tend to fall of when slicing the focaccia and they burn a bit when baking. Then drizzle the remaining olive oil on top. I also sprinkled some oregano and chilli flakes.

8. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees Celcius for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is well browned.

9. Get lost in the aroma of freshly baking bread and relax for sometime before the excitement hits you hard.

10. Take out the bread, keep staring at it for sometime, start dancing and then let the bread cool off for 15 minutes. (Believe me this is the toughest part of the process).

11. Slice the bread as per your liking and start gobbling them up.

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12. Thank Ms. Karishma Pais first and me later.

So till the time we meet again…

Cheers to life…

Till then ride safe and have safe sex…

Inquilab Zindabad…

Hasta la Victoria Siempre…

Jai BoP!

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