Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Botany and Hello!

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Dear Joe

Wheeeyy Cake On My Face is published!! This is a lil bit of an experiment, I’ve never written a blog before so lets see how this goes. Thought I would write it to you, Joe, because it feels very strange not knowing who you’re writing to, could be one person or could be 100…wow.

Yesterday I made Focaccia.

My focaccia garden boii

I love Mum’s fascination with weeds growing out of cracks in pavements, walls and at the side of ring roads. It’s also pretty amazing that she seems to know the name of all the weeds she finds. Yesterday we were on a walk together, I was ahead, I heard ‘Caito. Come try this’, mum handed me a small green leaf she had just picked, ‘what is it?’, ‘Garlic Mustard’. We walked on, eating some leaves that really did taste of garlic and mustard. She still uses that flower encyclopedia we got her for Christmas a couple years ago when she doesn’t know the name of a plant she finds. I’m not great at matching up names of plants with what they look like but I still love looking at weeds and flowers, their colour, smell and texture.

In tribute to mum’s impressive knowladge of flowers and my impressive ability to eat bread I decided to make a focaccia garden. I’d never made focaccia before but it’s my new fav bread, it’s one of the fastest breads to make and has been hailed ‘the most delicious bread’ by Celestine. You can top it with any flavour and any design so you can use this recipe to make your own focaccia creation…garden…allotment…jungle?

Ingredients

Dough

  • 400 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g wholemeal bread flour, fine ground semolina or strong white bread flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 7 g dried yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • olive oil (as much as you want to put on your bread)

Topping

You can use whatever veg and herbs you have in your kitchen, but you need garlic. Here is what I used:

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 peppers, one red, one yellow
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 spring onions
  • handful of parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • black sesame seeds

Method

Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle like you are about to make pancakes. In a seperate bowl add the yeast and sugar into the lukewarm water and mix with a fork. Leave the yeast and water for a few mins until it sarts to foam. When you can see some foam on top of the water slowly pour it into the well you made in the flour mixture. Mix this with a fork.

Once the mixture comes together tip it onto a worksurface and get your hands involved. Knead vigorously for about 8 mins. You might want to add a little bit of flour onto the worksurface so the dough doesn’t stick, but try to use as little as possible. You want to end up with a smooth, springy dough.

Lightly oil a large bowl and pop the dough in it. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with a tea towel. Leave the bowl in a warm place (like in the 25 degree sun were having at the min) to prove for about half a hour. You want your dough to have doubled in size.

I’m loving my dough
With a lil bit of work…
Your dough can look like a boiled egg too

While the dough proves preheat the oven to 220 and prep your toppings.

Once the dough has risen, punch it to deflate the dough then spread it out onto a baking tray. Press your fingers down in the dough like your playing the piano to make lots of dips and wells in the dough. Arrange your toppings on the dough. Scatter some chopped garlic and rosemary, sprinkle some salt and drizzle a good amount of olive oil on the dough to finish.

Lay a tea towel over the dough and prove for another 20 mins. Then, bake for 20 mins or until golden on top and soft in the middle. If you can’t tell if the bread is done, tap it, if it sounds hollow its ready to come out.

Enjoy your focaccia and the sun, Caitlin xxxxxx

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