Since watching Paul Hollywood learn how to make the wonder of no-knead bread when he was in New
York for his series City Bakes I have certainly got back into my bread making groove. Our delicious, fresh, well aerated and easy to make no-knead bread with white and wholemeal flour has regularly been on our table, or rather in the bread crock, for the past few weeks!
Focaccia is a bread which I have enjoyed in the past with it’s delicious flavour arising from the olive
oil and other elements. It’s a bread which is great for tearing and sharing with family and friends served with soup or as a dip with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is undoubtedly tastiest when eaten warm but any cold left overs can be reinvigorated by splitting it before grilling and serving as a bruschetta with a medley of chopped tomatoes, for instance.
This no-knead focaccia, classically flavoured with garlic and rosemary, was a big success. The fresh rosemary was amazing in the bread bringing a wonderful balanced flavour alongside the mild garlic and wonderful olive oil. Three garlic cloves had been allowed to infuse in a quantity of olive oil for about 24 hours before I started making the dough, though if you prefer, shop bought flavoured oils can easily be found in most supermarkets.
No-knead bread has allowed me to rekindle my love of homemade bread, allowing those wonderful aromas to waft through our home once again. It continues to amaze me that wonderful, well aerated bread can be made without any kneading. Just a quick 30 second mix and the dough is ready for the prove. You can even use a wooden spoon for that mixing if you’re keen to keep your hands and nails sparkly clean, ready to answer the door when those unexpected visitors arrive. Despite all of the positives to no-knead bread I must confess that,depending upon your outlook, there may be a negative. The prove can take numerous hours, sometimes more than 24 hours depending upon the ambient temperature of the room. But, as they say good things come to those who wait. That patience rewards you with a really tasty well aerated bread.
So, seriously, if you’ve yet to try no-knead bread I really must encourage you to give it a whirl. It really is easy, fuss free and
produces great results too. Perhaps try this no-knead focaccia, flavoured with rosemary and garlic. It is easy to make and great for tearing and sharing with family and friends.
So let’s get to it and bake!
NO-KNEAD ROSEMARY & GARLIC FOCACCIA.
FOR THE GARLIC INFUSED OLIVE OIL
- 50 ml Olive Oil
- 3 cloves of Garlic
FOR THE ROSEMARY & GARLIC FOCACCIA
- 250 g Strong White Bread Flour
- 5 g Salt
- 1/2 tsp Easy Bake Yeast
- 50 ml Garlic infused Olive Oil as above
- 180 ml cool Water
- 1 sprig of fresh Rosemary
- Combine the garlic and olive oil. Measure 50ml of olive oil into a jug and add the garlic cloves. Stir and cover with clingfilm. Set aside for as long as you’re able to allow the garlic flavour to infuse into the olive oil. I left ours for 24 hours. Periodically rock the jug containing the flavoured oil to and fro to allow the flavours to merge. Alternatively use a ready infused oil from the supermarket.
- Make the focaccia dough. Place the flour, salt and yeast in a good size bowl keeping the salt away from the yeast at this stage. Combine with your hand or wooden spoon.
- Make a well in the flour. Add 1.5 tablespoons of the garlic infused oil and pour in most of the water. With your hand or wooden spoon mix the flour into the liquid aiming to combine all of the flour into a soft dough. Add the remaining water to pick up any surplus flour. The dough will be quite soft and sticky at this stage.
- Prove. Cover with clingfilm or a shower cap (used purely for baking). Place the covered bowl somewhere cool (though not in a draft), to allow the dough to prove slowly. It will triple in size. Ours was ready for the next stage after 16 hours. See notes.
- Prepare your baking tray. Lay a strip of greaseproof paper in the base of the baking dish and grease the sides with a little butter or olive oil.
- Shape the dough. Without knocking back the dough, use a spatula to carefully scrape around the side of the bowl and tip the aerated dough into the prepared baking vessel. Use your fingers or the tip of the spatula to encourage the dough to take the shape of the baking dish, though you don’t need to be too precise about it. Dip your finger in the garlic infused olive oil and prod the dough a few times to create indentations. If you prefer to keep your hands clean use the handle of a spoon rather than your finger.
- Prove again. Cover the baking vessel with either a shower cap or clingfilm. Set aside for a further hour.
- Pre-heat the oven. Preheat the oven to maximum.
- Add rosemary and more olive oil to the dough. Just before baking, dip your finger (or spoon handle) into the garlic infused oil and make some more dimples in the dough. Remove the leaves from the rosemary sprig and place the leaves and mini sprigs into the indentations (ensuring that there are no tough woody stems attached). Drizzle any remaining olive oil over the dough.
- Bake. Place the bread in the centre of the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 220 / 200 Fan / Gas mark 8. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.