Making bread is a form of art.To me personally making and sharing bread is a form of expressing love. Soft flour, bubbly yeast and rich oil make a perfect Focaccia bread.
As an amateur bread maker I choose simple recipes. This month I was invited by the Orchard at Tesco to try some exotic fruits and they kindly let me pick them too. From the bunch of fruits that I got -black Italian grapes, sweet juicy watermelon, fresh jaffa tangerines my favourite by far are the fresh figs from Turkey. The figs, sold in Tesco,that I buy every year around this time are in season and I simply love them.
This is the first time I use them to bake with and the results are brilliant.
Focaccia is a traditional Italian bread, which is flat and very similar to pizza dough but it’s loved by many.The fluffy dough infused with olive oil is a pure joy to eat and share. You can make countless different toppings as this bread is very versatile and so so tasty. The savory ideas include tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, aubergines, olives, artichokes, rosemary, parsley and crepes.There are also sweet recipes of Focaccia which can include dried fruits, nuts, maple syrup, sweet orange or lemon peels, ginger, cinnamon.
The recipe I have chosen offers a great palate of flavours as it has savory and sweet tones, nicely finished with the rich caramelized onions. It is very delicious indeed. Here it is.
Love getting your fingers oily 🙂
You can use the base as easily as a pizza base. My boys said that my focaccia bread tastes like the best pizza they have ever had. So here is the simple method on how to make the bread.
Fig and Onion Focaccia Bread Recipe
Serves 12 , Takes 1hr 20 minutes plus proving
500g strong white bread flour
14g dried yeast
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing, kneading and serving
For the topping:
4 ripe figs (washed and cut into slices)
1 small onion cut into small boats
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of Maple syrup
a pinch of salt and black pepper
olive oil for frying
1.Put the flour in a mixing bowl. In a cup mix the yeast, sugar and 100ml of warm water. Gently mix with a small whisk or a fork and let it dissolve and bubble for a few minutes until it becomes a foam. Pour the contents of the cup into the flour and make a well in the center.
2.Add another 150 ml of warm water and a pinch of sea salt.Mix with a spoon and then start kneading with your very oily hands, adding a little bit more oil, so the dough is easy to handle. Keep kneading till you get a elastic soft and smooth dough. Transfer it into an oiled bowl and cover it with damp cloth to keep the warm moisture. Let it prove for about an hour or until doubled in size.
3.Meanwhile you can caramelize the onions. Simply fry them gently in a bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper and let them become soft and almost fully cooked before you add the balsamic vinegar. Once the onions are ready add the balsamic vinegar and let them simmer for about 30-60 seconds until they become sticky. If you want you can add some Maple syrup as well, depending on your preference.
4.Once your dough is ready cut into two halves.Grease your chosen baking pan-ideal size would be 20cmx30cm for the 1/2 of the dough, but you can simply work with what you have by simply using less dough. The aim is to make sure you have enough space for the dough to rise and bake and also to remain flat. Using your oily fingers place the dough into the pan and stretch it to fill the edges and the corners of the pan. Make rows of evenly spaced dimples over the surface of the dough. Now press the sliced figs and sprinkle the onions, too. Set the pan aside to prove for further 35-45 minutes or until doubled in size.
5.Preheat the oven to fan mark 170-180 degrees. Bake the bread on the middle shelf for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden. Once it’s ready, leave it to cool for a few minutes and you can drizzle a bit of olive oil just before serving.
So there you have it. Once you’ve mastered the dough you can get creative with your toppings, too. Try sun dried tomatoes with roasted garlic and rosemary, or sweet red peppers, black olives and oregano. You can also shape the dough into a pizza and add your favourite pizza toppings, too. I have made garlic bread using the exact same dough and it is amazing.
Hope you get a chance to try this recipe.
Be well and wild and enjoy the ride!
Lots of Love,