Spring has arrived at our yellow villa here at the edge of Moss city in Norway.
The 250 year old oak outside my window is about to awaken to a new year. I often wonder if that old Oak observes me while i drink my morning coffee.
Nothing is better than those quiet sunny Sunday mornings in the spring … it makes me feel good!
Do you know what else makes me feel good? Focaccia!
Before this winter I had never made Focaccia before – I bake a lot, as those of you who follow me online know – but never Focaccia.
This winter one of my best friends celebrated his birthday, and his wife – who knows of my baking-like-mad hobby asked if I could make some Focaccia for “only” 50 guests … Of course! I was thrilled and practiced and practiced until I was more than satisfied with the result.
So this Sunday morning – with coffee – sun – spring and the old Oak whispering in the wind – it was obvious that I had to make some Focaccia again.
And what a treat … follow my instructions and suck it all in and enjoy the joy of baking-like-mad …
You need: Flour of your liking, dried yeast, salt (sea salt flakes if you have), ground pepper, herbs like: rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil or whatever reaches your hand, some extra virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes or something like that, and of course, water.
One little bowl, one large bowl, a towel and an oven.
Now here it comes:
1. In the little bowl sprinkle 3 tsp of yeast over 4 tbsp of lukewarm water (not too warm), leave for 5-10 minutes or until it bubbles.
2. In the large bowl mix 2,5 cups of flour with 2 tsp of salt, some pepper, some pinches of your herbs and make a well in the center of the bowl.
3. Look out the window, sip your coffee and think about something really funny.
4. Add 4 tbsp of oil, the yeast-water-mix and 1 cup of lukewarm water into the well in the bowl with your flour mixture.
5. Gradually draw in the flour and work in the ingredients to form a soft but sticky dough.
6. Giggle when you realize that most of the dough sticks to your fingers – but don’t be tempted to add more flour! (that is my secret).
7. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and knead for 6-8 minutes. When it’s ready it will change: It will become smooth and elastic.
8. Splash some oil in your large bowl, place in the dough and cover it with a damp kitchen towel and leave it rest for 1 hour. Now is a good time to relax.
9. Prepare a low square baking pan with some oil, put the dough on the pan and knock out the air. Cover again and leave it for 5 minutes.
10. Now use your hands to flatten the dough to fill the pan entirely, cover it again (yes it has to snuggle) and wait 30-45 mins. Turn on the oven 200C or 400F.
11. Scatter some of your herbs on top and poke the dough all over to make deep dimples (makes you smile too right?) to put in your cherry tomatoes.
12. Now is a good time to wake-up your family or friendly neighbours – tell them they have 30 mins – kiss your loved ones if possible.
13. Pour lots of olive oil all over the dough, pop in as many cherry tomatoes as you like (cut them in half so they don’t explode in the oven). Sprinkle with salt flakes!
14. Bake high in the oven until browned, it takes about 15 – 20 minutes. (A trick is to have a preheated bowl of boiling water inside the oven when you bake, that will make the bread more golden and yum.