En français ici.Besides bank holidays in the spring, another thing the French do well is expressions. If someone asked me when I was going to start baking with yeast, in English I might say "the 12th of never" or "when pigs fly". The French would say le 36 du mois (on the 36th of the month) or else quand les poules auront des dents (when hens grow teeth).
Did I mention I'm afraid of yeast? I mean, it's alive. You have to take care of it, treat it right, not too hot, not too cold, etc. I see all these great bread recipes circulating and I think, "maybe someday..." Last week, I decided enough is enough. I've been meaning to try this fantastic focaccia recipe that I found on Antics of a Cycling Cook. If you've been cooking with yeast forever, you can go ahead at laugh at my anxiety faced with such a basic recipe. If you're afraid of yeast like me, let me encourage you: this bread is easy to make, a good recipe to overcome your fears!
I used Sam's instructions for the dough (thanks Sam!) and then played around with the toppings, which I highly encourage. It could be a good way to use up whatever you might have in the fridge/pantry.
350g/12oz white bread flour (2 US cups)
One sachet of yeast
1/2 tsp salt
200ml warm water (slightly less than 1 cup)
50ml Extra virgin olive oil (slightly less than 1/4 cup)
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
Mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil and water. Bring together to form a dough and knead for a few minutes on a well floured surface (don't worry if the dough is sticky - that's normal. You'll want to flour your hands too).
Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with wax paper (Sam uses plastic wrap but I didn't have any), and leave to rise in a warm place for at least 1 1/2 hours or overnight. I let it rise about 3-4 hours in my oven which apparently has a setting for rising dough - amazing!
Once the dough has risen, knock it back and press out onto a large baking tray. Don't worry about leaving your finger prints in the dough, they'll stop the olive oil running off.
Drizzle the dough generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Add your toppings (go ahead and be liberal with them). Leave to rise again for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. It's delicious served warm!
I'm submitting this recipe to Bookmarked Recipes, which is being hosted this week by Joelen from Joelen's Culinary Adventures.
The rules to participate are here. Don't forget to check out the roundup next Monday!