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Tomato and Basil Focaccia

This recipe is perfect for a sunny afternoon, when you have a glass of wine in your hand while enjoying the West Coast!
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • ½ cups olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 250 grams cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 4 tbsp extra olive oil

Instructions
 

Preparing the dough

  • Combine the instant yeast with warm water and sugar. The water should be just warm enough so that when you put your finger in, it feels like nothing (this is called blood temperature). Allow this mixture to stand for a few minutes until foamy. 
    2 cups warm water, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp instant yeast
  • Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl (I use my stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment). Mix then pour in the yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
    4 cups flour, ½ cups olive oil, 1 tsp salt
  • Mix for a few minutes until everything is well combined. The dough will be very wet and sticky, almost like a thick batter.
  • Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over the dough and lightly oil your hands. Roll the dough in the oil to coat then cover with plastic. (At this stage you can place the dough in the fridge to proof overnight if you prefer. )
  • Place the dough in a warm spot and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Drizzle over another 2 tbsp oil and fold the dough from the outside in 4 times, turning the bowl as you go. Cover the dough again and allow to rise for 30 minutes. 
  • Spray a deep baking dish with nonstick cooking spray then add 3 tbsp oil. Tip the dough into the pan, trying not to disturb it too much. With oiled fingers, press into the dough, spreading it into the corners and creating a dimpled appearance. If the dough feels tight at all, leave it for 10 minutes then try again. Allow to stand for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C

Making the Focaccia

  • Blend ½ cup basil and the extra olive oil until smooth then pour through a sieve (optional).
  • Add the cherry tomatoes, basil oil and fresh basil leaves then season the bread generously with flaky sea salt.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minute or until the bread is golden brown and crisp on the outside and sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Allow the bread to cool in the pan for a few minutes then remove and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Keyword bread, focaccia

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