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Focaccia with oregano and olive oil

This isn't really a starter per se, but rather a type of bread served with the meal. However, I often serve it with the starter indeed and then leave it on the table throughout. It does take some time due to very nature of the yeast.



Ingredients (to accompany a meal for up to 6 people):

  • 400gr plain flour

  • 100gr semolina

  • 21gr dry fast action yeast

  • 3 Tbsp oregano

  • 1 tsp caster sugar

  • 1 tsp fine salt

  • 1 tsp coarse rock salt

  • 100ml warm water

  • 7-8 Tbsp olive oil


Method:

  • Mix well the flour, the semolina and the oregano in a glass or plastic bowl

  • Dissolve the sugar in the warm water, then add the yeast and mix very well

  • Add 5 heaped Tbsp of the flour mix to the yeast mix in a glass or plastic bowl: add 4 Tbsp first and mix with a spoon, then pour the dough on the table and mix by hand, adding the last Tbsp bit by bit, stopping if the dough gets too hard

  • Shape the dough as a ball, then put it back into the bowl

  • Cover it with cling film - put it in a warm, non-draghty place and let it rise for 30 mins



  • Mix with the remaining flour with 200gr water at room temperature with a wooden spoon, together with 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp fine salt

  • Pour the dough onto the table, add the the little dough of the risen flour and yeast, and knead it well, adding a little water if needed

TIP: The dough must be smooth and a little sticky, enough to have absorbed all the flour, and when you finish both the table and your hands should be clean

  • Shape the dough in a ball and place it into a big, clean glass or plastic container, and cover it with cling film

  • Let it rise for 30 mins



  • Lightly sprinkle the clean table with a little flour, then take out the dough and knead it energetically again quite well

  • Put the dough back into the bowl and cover it again with cling film

  • Let it rise another 30 mins

  • Brush a large baking tin with a few slugs of olive oil, then spread the dough with your fingers reaching all corners

  • Using your fingers make small dents all over

  • Mix 4 Tbsp of oil with 2 Tbsp water and using a spoon and your hands spread some of the mixture evenly across the full surface until all glistening and wet (you may not have to use the full mixture)

  • Sprinkle the surface with 1 tsp of rock coarse salt and 2 tsp of oregano

  • Let it rise for a further 30 mins (once I skipped this step for lack of time, it cooked well anyway but it was less fluffy as a result)

  • Bake at 220 degrees C (fan) for 15-20 mins (test that it's ready with a wooden toothpick, it should come out dry)



  • Serve at room temperature or re-heat it for 2-3 mins in the oven at 200 degrees C

TIP: Keep any left over in a closed container (not in a plastic bag) for a maximum of 2 days, but do re-heat it before serving

NOTE: The picture below shows the Focaccia the one time I skipped the last 30 mins, and as you can see it came out a little too thin


VARIATIONS:

  1. Use rosemary instead of oregano

  2. Add cherry tomatoes, halved, lightly pressing the cut side into the dough just before the last rising time, this works well with both oregano or rosemary

  3. Add little mozzarella balls (or small slices) when you add the cherry tomatoes, but in this case use just oregano

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