Soft, fluffy. Salty. A touch of sweetness and oil. These are qualities that describe my perfect Focaccia bread. I am making bread because it is olive season in Cyprus right now. That means that my family begins the process of gathering all of our olives and taking them to get pressed into fresh olive oil. This year, I thought I would make one of my favourite meals to enjoy with a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar: Focaccia bread. This recipe is very easy to make, though it needs some time to let the bread rise – but it’s well worth it as the end result is fluffy bread.
2 & 1/2 cups Mitsides Village Flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 finely sliced red onion
2 tbs diced fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 & 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tbs sugar
1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on low and add the onion, rosemary and pepper for about 5 minutes.
2. In a small bowl add 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, sugar and stir and then let it sit for 5 minutes.
3. Add 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup of the oil mixture and stir with a wooden soon moistened.
4. Stir in the rest of the flour and salt and continue to add the rest of the warm water until the dough comes together.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and kneed about 15 times and then shape it into a ball.
6. Place the ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap on top of the bowl and cover it the bowl with blankets and let rise in a warm area for about 1 hour.
7. Take a rectangle pan (9 x 13 inch) and put about 2-3tbs of the olive oil mixture on the bottom of the pan – just so that it lightly coats the pan. (I put just a few red onions in the bottom of the pan.)
8. Place the dough into the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and cover with blankets and let rise for another 30 minutes.
9. Take the dough and using your finger tips, dimple the top of the dough. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the dough and sprinkle generously with salt. (I opted not to put many red onions because they have a tendency to burn when you cook so this means I had about 1/2 the onions in the recipe leftover by the end.) Let rise for another 20 minutes while you let the oven preheat to 230C.
10. Bake the bread for 15 minutes until the top of the bread is golden brown. Remove from the oven and take out of the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.