Focaccia Bread

April 23, 2015

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight... 

[Bread making is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” 

 ― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition

The ritual of bread making has never been more therapeutic. This was discovered when I made my first true-blue bread, a Focaccia (flat oven-baked Italian bread).

There is something strangely satisfying to watch simple ingredients like flour, yeast, sugar and oil come together to form a dough. I was lost in the act of kneading the dough, and was wholly immersed in the rhythm of working the dough. In that moment, my brain was finally silent.

So if you are looking for something calming and therapeutic, please give bread making a shot.

I always held the misconception that making bread is complicated. On the contrary, it merely takes patience. Even with the long waiting time, I enjoyed watch the dough rise and puff up into a happy and glorious looking lump. 

Source: Sorted Food

7 g dried yeast
200 ml warm water
1 tsp sugar
500 g strong bread flour
2 tbsp olive oil (+ extra for drizzling)
2 tsp salt
2 sprigs rosemary
2 cloves garlic
2 pinches sea salt
1 red chilli
1 lemon
2 peppercorns
1 dash of olive oil

1. Activate the yeast: Mix half of the warm water in with the yeast and sugar until it completely dissolves.
2. Add the yeast and oil: Tip the yeasty water into the flour with the sugar and mix in a large bowl. Add the oil to the bowl with the salt, mixing again until combined.
3. Knead the dough: Pour some more of the warm water into the bowl until the dough feels soft but not sticky. Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface until it feels stretchy when pulled.
4. Leave the dough to rise: Place the dough outside for about 60-90 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
5. Roll out the dough: Roll out the proved dough into an even but round shape about 5cm thick. Lay it onto a greased baking tray.
6. Poke holes and let dough rise again: Make some holes in the bread with floured fingers and then allow to rise in the warm place for another 30 minutes.
7. Make the oil and chop herbs: Slice the chilli lengthways and place into the bottle of oil with the zest from the lemon and a few black peppercorns to infuse. Chop the rosemary and peeled garlic as finely as possible and sprinkle on top of the risen bread with a drizzle of olive oil. (Note: This step is optional as it tastes good plain, but you can make the oil for a more savoury option.)
8. Bake and serve: Bake the rested dough in a preheated oven at 200°C for approximately 30 minutes until golden, well risen and hollow sounding inside when tapped, then leave to cool. Slice the bread into strips and serve with the flavoured oil to dip into.


Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread, other than tasting it. Enjoy!

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