Bakery
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Focaccia Bread with Herbs and Tomato

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I’m 33 years old and I finally know what I really, REALLY want to do in life. I want to wake up at 4 a.m. every day, bake fresh bread and pastries and I want to provide people with their first food of the day, in a cosy, small and warm bakery. It will be a small neighbourhood bakery and I will know my regular customers by name and say “Huomenta Maija! Mitä kuuluu?” (“Good morning Maija! How are you?”) with a smiling face.

When I find time from dreaming a future like this, I bake what I would sell in my bakery, like this foccacia bread for example. I absolutely LOVE this bread and I have been working hard to get the best texture and taste. I have been using plain flour for a while but the last time I used a flour mixture specific for foccacia – I found it by chance in Stockmann. It was not a huge difference but nonetheless it was better.

In this recipe you see that I used a rectangular bowl to bake the bread in, but later on I baked it using a circular and rather smaller bowl and it had a better texture and an enormous thickness (using the same amount of ingredients, I think the diameter of the circular bowl was 24 cm.).

photo(105)

Ingredients:

1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
3 cups flour
2+2 tbsp olive oil
dried oregon (as much as you like – I like my bread full of herbs so I put a lot!)
dried thyme (again as much as you like)
attention: you can also use fresh rosemary!
1 cup lukewarm water
cherry tomatoes (the amount of tomatoes differs according to your bowl, i’ll explain it below)
dried basil
ground chili pepper (optional)
3 garlic cloves

1. In a big bowl, put salt, sugar, yeast and flour and whisk it a little.

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2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and whisk more.

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3. Add dried oregon and thyme (or fresh rosemary if you prefer) and whisk even more!

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4. Now hands in!! Pour lukewarm water and start kneading the dough. Knead it until you get a smooth textured but rather sticky dough.

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5. When the dough is ready, take your bowl (the one that you will bake the bread in) and grease it a little (I use olive oil to grease the bowl, but you can also other kind of oil or butter). Take the dough and put it inside the bowl, spreading it to cover all the bowl surface. Cover it with a stretch film and leave it to rise for 30 minutes.

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6. When the dough rises, take away the stretch film. Make some hole on the dough. I used the back of peeling tool for this. The dough was really sticky so I had to wet the tool a bit every now and then.

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7. After you are done with the holes, pour some dried basil and chilli pepper on the dough.

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8. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the surface of the dough. Put half (or 1/3, if they are big) of tomatoes on each hole, but put them a bit deeper, don’t leave them too much on the surface.

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9. Crush the garlic cloves and spread on the dough. When I baked this bread later on, I sliced the garlic into thin pieces instead of crushing and I like it better.

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10. Cover the bowl again with a stretch film and let rise for another 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 190C.

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11. Put your dough inside the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until a metal knife stuck inside comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake the surface. When it is ready, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool for a while before you take it out of the bowl.

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12. Slice the bread in any way you like and serve!

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I always and always put tomatoes on this bread but you can also bake it without tomatoes, it’s up to you. For instance, in one version, you can put fresh rosemary on the holes instead of tomatoes or you can make a combination of both.

The first time I baked this bread, I was going to a farewell picnic for a Spanish friend of mine. Everyone loved the bread but the whole picnic was full of great food, just look at the photo below!

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I'm a designer based in Helsinki, who turned into a food blogger / eating designer / baker and finally found the meaning of life by cooking, baking and eating together.

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