Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Freshly Baked Focaccia Bread with Green Olives

Incredibly soft homemade focaccia bread with green olives.
Who knew that simple fresh bread could taste so good?!


Here is another great recipe for focaccia bread. As you might remember I've posted how to bake focaccia with rosemary before. This recipe is very similar, but no rosemary, and the added flavor of delicious green olives.
As I said many times, what you bake is only as good as the ingredients you use. So make sure to buy flavorful olives. Not those plain ones that come in a can. If the olives don't have much taste, neither will your bread. I bought mine at my local Whole Foods. For sure more expensive than other places. But I really love their salad bar, because of the large selection of olives: Sicilian, Cerignola, Spanish, Greek, and so many others to choose from. This time I picked my favorite green Sicilian pitted (yes, please!!!) olives, that tasted amazing in my bread.
I made this focaccia to serve with appetizers the other night for some guests. I served a plate of prosciutto di San Daniele, and burrata cheese. Next to some bruschette with organic colorful cherry tomatoes that I bought at the market. I cooked the focaccia right before dinner was supposed to start, so my guests were welcomed at the dinner table by the amazing aroma of  freshly baked bread ... and yes, garlic too! From the bruschette.
From the compliments I received, I can say that dinner was a hit. From start to finish. And my kids said that the focaccia was their favorite part. The focaccia AND the meringue cups that I served at the end. Dessert is always their favorite. Mine too :-)


Ingredients: to make a 9x12 in bread
  • 1 medium russet potato, about 5.5 oz, 180 gr
  • 2.5 cups (400 gr) of bread flour
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (3/4 oz, 21 gr)
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 cup (4 oz, 115 gr) of green olives
  • 2 teaspoons (12 gr) of salt
  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) of water
  • coarse sea salt
Preparation time: 4 hours (20 minutes preparation time, 40 minutes cooking time and 3 hours inactive)
Directions:
1. Boil the potato by placing it in a pot with cold salted water. It should take about 20 minutes from when the water boils to be fully cooked. Test with  a fork for readiness.
2. In a large bowl add the flour, yeast, sugar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the riced potatoes (rice when still hot).

3. Dissolve the salt in 10 fl oz of warm water. Add to the bowl. Mix with a spoon first, until most of the flour is absorbed.
4. The dough will be quite soft and sticky. You can work directly on the bowl, and knead with your fingers. Or move it to the counter and knead with your palms.

5. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Keep it in a warm place. As I do for my pizza dough, I place it in the oven (turned off obviously!). Let the dough rise for about an hour and a half.

6. Line a 9 x 12 in baking pan with parchment paper. Place the dough on the paper, and flatten it down with your fingers. Add the olives, and pushed them down with your finger.
                                             
                                             
7. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt. 
                                             
8. Put the pan back in the off-oven, and let the dough rise for another hour and a half, or more.
 

9. Remove the pan from the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees. Bake the focaccia bread for about 25 minutes, until slightly golden on top. Cut in squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
Buon appetito!!









3 comments:

  1. I recognize this stunning spread! Scrumptious! Beautiful blog, Manuela. - Mary Ann

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Mary Ann! It was really great to see you.

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  2. This looks so luscious. I'm going to give it a try but my baking skills leave lots for improvement. This looks easy enough for me and I love foccacia. I might even give it a try with my favorite black olives. Thanks for your efforts; your blog is wonderful.
    Ann

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