Tuesday, 18 August 2015


With bread week of the Great British Bake Off 2015 a few day away I thought it was time to test out my own bread baking skills but with a twist. With lots of dips being made in my kitchen recently a nice dippy bread was the order of the day and in homage to the demise of Glee on UK TV this week a mash up of my fabulous focaccia and Jon's Garlictastic bread seems most appropriate with this garlic and rosemary brushed focaccia. The best of both worlds, this lully loaf can be cut into gorgeous little strips perfect for a bit of dunking action.

So this is a classic revisited, a little bit more tasking than a simple recipe so if your looking for a beginners approach to both focaccia or garlic bread then check out either of those recipes by clicking on their names and the magic of the internet will whisk you right over to them. How did we cope before the internet eh!

I will just remind you with this recipe though that I am using a pizza stone as it's amazing for baking bread on. If you are planning on baking more bread at home then I highly recommend you invest in one. There are affordable stones you can buy in large supermarkets and online and trust me when I tell you that the results are well worth it. If you can't get hold of one in time then just line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper instead.

The recipe below will make two big garlic focaccias about 10-12 inches in diameter. Plenty for everyone to enjoy!

Garlictastic Focaccia

10g Dried Active Yeast
1 Tsp Caster Sugar
700g Strong Bread Flour
1 and 1/2 Tsp Salt
10g Unsalted Butter
2 Grated Garlic Cloves
2 Sprigs Of Chopped Rosemary
 A Good Handfull Of Polenta

  1.  Mix together the yeast and sugar with 150ml of boiling water mixed with 300ml of cold water and until they have dissolved. Cover with a tea towel and leave for around 10 minutes until the top of the mixture has become frothy with plenty of bubbles on the surface.
  2. Whilst the yeast and sugar does it's thing, mix together the flour, salt and butter, rubbing the butter into the flour until fully incorporated. Once the yeast mixture is ready, pour it slowly into the flour mixture and mix together until a doughball has formed. 
  3. Either transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface or use a dough hook on a food mixer to knead the dough for around 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to rise and double in size for around 1 hour.
  4. Whilst the dough rises, melt the butter in a pan on a low heat with the garlic and rosemary and then leave to one side for later.
  5. Once the dough has risen, knock it back and divide into two equal sized pieces. Shape both into two domed balls and place them onto two large separate pieces of baking paper dusted with the polenta. Cover and leave to rise again for another 10 minutes.
  6. Whilst the dough rises again, turn your oven up to 240 degrees (220 fan) or as high as it will go and pop in your pizza stone to warm up.
  7. Once the dough has finished rising again, roll out each one into a large oval shape roughly 10-12 inches in diameter. Doesn't need to be a perfect circle, that length in diameter will give you the perfect thickness of dough that you need. Make some indentations in the dough with you fingers or using a spatula and brush each oval with half of the herby garlic butter.
  8. Carefully transfer one of the oval's, still on the baking paper to the pizza stone and then bake for 10 minutes. To check the bread is done, carefully lift it from the paper and tap the bottom. It should sound hollow as well as being golden brown on the top. Remove the bread from the oven and cover with foil to keep warm and repeat with the second oval.
If you really want to wrap up the garlicness of the focaccia you can make some extra garlic, rosemary butter and brush the bread again whilst it's warm out the oven but be prepared to stick of garlic for a few hours after (I love it so I don't care!). The bread should be served warm out the oven so it nice and fluffy in the middle but if you want to prepare it in advance just chunk it back in the oven for about 5 minutes to warm though again. Cover any left overs with foil or film to stay fresh for around three to four days. Once you try this revisited classic, you'll agree that it's the perfect mash-up in anyone's book!

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