Monday, November 16, 2015

Meatless Monday-- Rosemary and Garlic Olive Focaccia...


When it comes to the kitchen, savoury cooking is where my heart has always been. It wasn't until I had my kids that I started to really enjoy baking-- cookies for school snack and soccer practices, banana bread for a filling breakfast, scones for weekend brunch, cakes and cupcakes for birthdays... but a savoury bread, this is my first. I happened to have a few fresh sprigs of rosemary leftover from my crown pork roast dinner weeks ago-- I couldn't believe how long they lasted in a clear package stored in my fridge crisper. I came upon a rosemary focaccia bread recipe enriched with olive oil, rosemary, garlic and black olives-- mmmm, how could I resist? It's also meatless Monday and World Vegan month so it was timely to finally try my hands at baking fresh bread straight from my oven. Yeah-- success!
Focaccia takes its name from the Italian word for hearth, which is where it was traditionally baked. Partnered with a hearty delicious beet soup- Ukrainian Borsch, it was a perfect combo for a nod to my personal meat-free Mondays challenge this entire month.


Ukrainian Borsch and Rosemary and Garlic Olive Focaccia

Rosemary and Garlic Olive Focaccia
Makes one loaf

2 cups unbleached plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
8 g sachet dried yeast (rapid rise- use directly) or traditional (first dissolve yeast in a little sugar and 2 Tbsp. warm water)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
10 black kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2/3 cup water
Topping:
6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. rock salt or fleur de sel
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves removed





















Mix together the flour, salt, yeast, garlic, rosemary and olives in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre; add the olive oil and water. Mix to form a soft dough. You can turn out the dough on a floured work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes or let the mixer do it with the dough hook, however I like to leave the dough in the mixing bowl and work and knead it in there.


Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled clear plastic wrap. Leave to rise in room temperature for 45 minutes until the dough doubles in bulk. Then, turn out the dough on a floured surface and knead to roll out an oval shape about 1/2-inch thick. Place the dough on a greased baking sheet, cover loosely with oiled clear film and leave in a warm place to rise again for 25 to 30 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 400 F. Make indentations with your fingertips all over the top of the bread. Drizzle with two-thirds of the olive oil over the top, then sprinkle with salt and rosemary.


Bake for 25 minutes until golden. The bread should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack and spoon the remaining olive oil on top.

Voila!! I am impressed for my first time... And the briny, rosemary aroma is unbeatable!


I think if I gave it time to rise a bit more I would have had a fluffier interior and less dense... there's always next time :)


Delizioso!
Ukrainian Borsch and Rosemary and Garlic Olive Focaccia

Will you give meat a break on Mondays? For more info. on adopting a vegan diet or occasionally see World Vegan month.




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