Adventures with Bread Machines: Focaccia

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I got my bread machine a few months ago now. My brother picked one up for me for free from his local Freecycle group. I'd been wanting one for a while but didn't really have any money to spend so a free one was pretty much ideal! The only drawback is that it didn't come with any instructions so there's been a bit of guess work involved.

As I love to experiment, I haven't really had too many issues with working out good, basic recipes for loaves of white or wholemeal bread for everyday use. I've had a few loaves that have sunk/not risen/been a bit weird but I think I've pretty much nailed the basics.

However, general loaves of sandwich bread were just not enough for me. I also got a couple of books with the bread maker with lots of recipes to try.

One Hundred Bread Machine Recipes by Vicki Smallwood (ISBN: 1856057135) is the book that I got the following recipes from. It's a good reference for a range of different recipes from the following chapter headings;

1) Breads and savouries
2) Sweet loaves and cakes
3) Rolls, buns and snacks

There is also a good introduction to the book which includes information about ingredients, equipment, techniques and tips for success. There is also a trouble shooting guide which helps to identify the problem when your bread comes out a bit wrong!

So from this book I have taken the focaccia, pizza dough and banana and peanut butter bread (the last two will be covered later). Trust me, there a loads more that I want to make when I get the chance!

The focaccia was the first recipe that I used as we were having friends over for dinner and I wanted to impress them (without expending too much effort).

1 cup of tepid water
1 tsp yeast (active dry yeast )
4 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of white bread flour
1 tsp salt

Pour the water into a large mixing bowl, add the yeast, oil and 1 cup of the flour. Mix together well and cover the bowl with clingfilm then leave it in a warm place for 2-3 hours. (I think I put mine on top of our modem!)

Pur the yeast mixture into the pan of the bread maker and then add the remaining flour and salt. Set the programme to "Dough"

When the machine has finished, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead briefly. Place it into a shallow baking tray and flatten/stretch it out so that it covers the base. Cover it again with oiled clingfilm and leave it to prove in a warm place until it has double in size. (Mine went onto the back of the hob where the oven had heated up with the lasagne that was cooking - very convenient!)

Preheat the oven to 220°C, brush your finger tips with some extra olive oil and randomly dimple the surface of the dough. Add your toppings of choice (I think we did dried herbs and crushed garlic and some cheese) and bake for 25 minutes. When baked, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

You can buy this book from Amazon


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