It had been a rainy Autumn afternoon. I had some thick, savoury pumpkin and carrot soup bubbling on the stove and all it needed was some bread to go with it.
 
 A glance a the clock.
 
Five o’clock.
Hmmm, could I do it?
 
I wanted focaccia – chewy, dimpled and topped with garlic.
This is what I came up with.
 
The dough quickly came together in the stand mixer with a dough hook attached and rose for less than one and a half hours, punched down, halved and spread over two well oiled oven trays where it was dimpled with the fingertips. Olives and garlic pressed into one, chilli and garlic pressed into the other.
A twenty minute rest while the oven heated to 200C. Then baked for 20 minutes until golden.
Dinner was just 10 minutes late but no one minded!
 
 
 
Fairly Quick Focaccia
 
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
 2 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
600g bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
 
Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup water and allow to stand a few minutes until bubbly. In the meantime measure the flour into the stand mixer bowl. Add the salt. Measure the warm water. By this time the yeast will be ready. Put the oil and the yeast into the flour/salt. Start the mixer and gradually add the water until it come together. You may not need all the water.
 

Knead with the dough hook for a good 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and with a pastry scraper ( I use a stiff spatula) scrap the dough off the sides of the bowl and bring together, using your hands to assist, into a rough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
While your dough is rising prepare the toppings. Mine were halved black olives, sliced garlic, sliced chilli and salt flakes. You could try fried onion, parmesan cheese, herbs, tomatoes, capers, anchovies…oh the list goes on!
 
Half an hour before the dough is ready preheat your oven to 220C. If you have a pizza stone or two all the better.

 
Have ready to well oiled, I mean really well oiled, rectangular baking trays with only a small lip. Divide the dough in half, again I use the stiff spatula, and spread each half out onto each oiled tray.
Press out and dimple with your fingertips. Drizzle with extra olive oil.

Press your toppings into the dough.
 
 
Allow to rise for 20 minutes.

When ready pop your focaccias into the oven. Reduce the oven to 200C and bake for 20 minutes. They could benefit from a spray of water once or twice during the cooking but I didn’t and they were still delicious.

Please remember when you remove your focaccia from the oven immediately take them off the baking tray and onto a cooling rack so they don’t sweat and go soggy.
Cut into large squares for serving.

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Look at this gorgeous serving plate my sister gave me…
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