Food isn’t just a source of nutrients and the “fuel” that keeps us going; it’s also enjoyment, a moment of peace, sometimes comfort, that homey warmth and happiness shared with those around us. It might seem over the top, but I truly believe that food is important in so many ways (and I really do like to eat), with even the act of cooking sometimes being better than therapy (but still go to therapy, therapy is awesome).
I personally believe that nothing conveys all those positive aspects of food and cooking as much as warm, fresh homemade bread, and even now as I’m writing this I’m imagining that amazing smell of warm dough baking in the oven.
That in mind, I really love making all types of bread and baked goods, but my go-to is always the classic focaccia that always turns out perfectly and can be tweaked to make it a bit different every time, but just as phenomenal. The Phenomenal Focaccia. There we go, now we have a name for the recipe, it’s a tad stuck-up but that’s ok, sometimes you gotta be stuck-up, even if it’s about bread.
So here you have the recipe, it’s really simple, especially after you’ve made it a couple of times…then you can make it by memory. It’s important for me to note that I use mugs for measuring and it doesn’t matter what size of mug (or cup) you use, as long as you keep using the same size throughout the process (it’s the ratio that counts).
- 1+⅓ mug of warm water (it doesn’t need to be boiling but as warm as possible)
- 2 teaspoons of honey (if you don’t have honey you can substitute it with sugar or any sweetener but honey is really the best)
- 1 pack of dried yeast
- 3+½ mugs of flour
- ¼ mug of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of COARSE sea salt
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- flaked sea salt
- For drizzling: a bit of olive oil, coarse sea salt and dried rosemary
- Pour the warm water into a larger bowl and mix in the honey till it melts completely. Then add the dried yeast and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes
- Now slowly add the flour, salt, olive oil and garlic while kneading the mixture with your hands (you can use a mixer if you have the dough attachment) until it becomes a nice, cohesive ball of dough
- Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough sit for about 45 minutes (till it rises to about twice its initial size)
- Heat the open to about 200 C
- Knead the dough till it’s soft and easy to “shape” (I sometimes put a tiny bit of melted butter)
- Make sure to line with a baking sheet and put the dough on it, straightening it do your desired shape and thickness, then use your fingers and/or knuckles to poke holes in the dough (don’t worry if the holes seem too deep, that’s completely fine)
- Drizzle the dough with some olive oil, coarse sea salt and dried rosemary and stick it in the oven
- Bake for about 20 minutes or so (it’s best to wait till the bread is golden brown)
- When the focaccia is done you can drizzle it with a bit of olive oil (while it’s still warm)
And that’s that, you’ve got yourself some amazing homemade bread that’ll disappear in minutes. The truly great thing about this recipe is that you can play around a bit with additions such as cherry tomatoes, olives, fresh basil…whatever you enjoy, just pop it on the top before you put it in the oven and voila, a whole new recipe. If by chance you have some leftover focaccia (a very rare occurrence), don’t worry, it’s still delicious and soft the next day.
Enjoy your delicious bite of pure awesomeness and let me know how it turned out for you.