A simple focaccia- my first bread ever!

THE FORGIVING FOCACCIA- a Baking Beginner’s Delight

The first bread I ever baked! And it remains my favourite to date 😀

Fresh Basil and cherry tomato focaccia

‘Mom, it smells like an Italian kitchen in here!!’, yelled my 13 year old in abandoned joy.
And I felt like joining him because I was baking my first bread-ever!!
The first prove and the second prove were periods of anxiety.Have I the right yeast! Am I doing it the right way!
(If those sound like alien terms, don’t you worry- they were strangers to me  till a month back!)

Eventually, when we bit into it, it was the best focaccia we’d ever had,soft inside, a hint of crunch on the outside.And I was a happy Mamma (Mia)!!

I call it ‘The Forgiving Focaccia’ as it is almost impossible to go wrong with it! A perfect start for your baking journey as it was for mine 🙂

Here is the super-simple recipe. The recipe is inspired and simplified from my friend Priyanka Chakraborty’s recipe here

For the focaccia dough
2  cups – All purpose flour  (Maida)
1 ¼  tsp dry yeast or ½ teaspoon Instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk/chhas/taak (at room temperature)
¼ cup just-warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil

For the topping

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mixed herbs – oregano,basil,rosemary and garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
4-5 cherry tomatoes halved or a large tomato, sliced
A few leaves of fresh basil

Prove the yeast – (Now what does that mean? Here you go) Add the sugar to ¼ cup of warm water. Mix well. The water has to be just the right temperature- not too hot because that will kill the yeast not too cool because the yeast won’t prove. Drop some on the back of your wrist and it should feel warm there. Add the yeast and rest covered for 10-15 minutes. The yeast should froth like soapy bubbles. If it doesn’t, throw the mix and start afresh. Proper proving of the yeast is vital to good bread!
In a big bowl, take the flour and salt. Mix well.
Once the yeast has bloomed, add it to the flour and knead the dough with the buttermilk. It will be sticky and it is meant to be like that.
Add the Olive oil and knead for another 10-12 minutes. You will have a soft and manageable dough now.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with cling film, or a kitchen towel and rest for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dough should double up. The time actually depends on the weather conditions-if very hot, it doubles sooner than the 1 ½ hours. This is the first prove.

Making bread at home Remove from the bowl once the dough is doubled and gently knock out the air.
Roll it out into a large recrtange,square or circle as desired and place on to a greased baking dish.
Cover with cling film or a kitchen towel taking care that they do not touch the top of the bread. Leave to rise again for about 30 minutes. This is the second prove.
When there are 20 minutes to go, pre-heat the oven at 200C.
Make dimples on the surface of the bread, gently with your fingertip, so that you don’t deflate it. Drizzle olive oil generously, filling up the dimples made over the surface of the focaccia.
Sprinkle some dry herb mixture and garlic powder (or a tsp of garlic crushed fine) Brush with oil all over the surface with gentle hands.Stick the cherry tomatoes into the bread.

making focaccia at home
Bake for 20 minutes at 180 C, till the top changes colour slighty. If doing in an oven with two elements, please keep both on.
Remove from over, sprinkle some shredded basil leaves and bake for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack for 8-10 minutes, slice and serve fresh out of the oven.

Focaccia Caprese

  1. This dough keeps well in the refrigerator too. I cling filmed it tight and put it in last night. This morning, removed, got it back to room temperature and baked. Works well 🙂
  2. Baked bread can be sliced , wrapped in paper towels and frozen in ziplock bags. Before using, thaw and put into a hot oven for 10 odd minutes and it is as good as fresh 🙂

A look at the lovely crumb. The crust is nice and crunchy and the insides, very soft!

Focaccia Basil and cherry tomatoes
And since I made this, I am totally and absolutely bitten by the baking bug and am baking almost thrice a week!

More madness to follow!

Cheers and Happy Baking! 😀

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83 thoughts on “A simple focaccia- my first bread ever!

    1. Thanks a lot Priya. I know from my experience, the number of doubts that cloud the mind when one is a learner, specially at the time of the first bake. Have tried to incorporate all that I learned at the beginning of my journey 🙂

  1. I always loved a focacia but never tried baking it myself. You do make it sound easy for beginners 🙂

  2. Wow garima….thats so easy to follow n make….I was wondering since 3 weeks after joining cal how to start with my baking journey(havnt tried my hands on baking)…bt wid dis recipe m sort out…will surely try it out once I go bak home….thanku soooo much…!!

      1. Bt garima ji….I hav a query…I hav convection microwave. ..which bakeware shud b used in it….aluminium tins or d one which hav black coating over dem..?

  3. Hi garima….thanks for step by step illustrations. .hv one query in mind…as you mentioned in your post that we can make 2 focaccia out of this dough. So can we make them simultaneously or first wehv to do with half for 20 min and then again with rest for 20 mins. Please suggest.

    1. Hi Ruchika
      You can make two simultaneously if your oven is large enough. Else bake one and then the other. That’s what I do as I have a small OTG.
      Thanks for dropping by.
      🙂

      1. Hi garima
        Ve tried baking the bread .. But the dough is too sticky.. Will post u the pic of the outcome..,

      2. Garima
        Thx a ton…
        Bread was yummy
        Am planning to make more for the get together over the weekend
        Thanks dear

  4. Wow. .its lovely ..thank u G for such a detailed step by step illustration. .wl definitely try it n let u kno hw it turned out:)

  5. Hi Garima,
    Thanks for the wonderfull step by step illustration of the recipe. I used yeast for the first time and focaccia came out amazing with your recipe. 🙂 I had posted in cal but wasn’t able to tag you there.

  6. Hello …. I tried ur rasgulla recipe n focaccia bread recipe.both turned out awesome.thanks for the recipes. :)-
    One question…..for how much time the dough can be kept outside refrigerator after the second proving???

  7. Hi Garima,
    Thank you for such a detailed recipe, its akin to a boon for people like me are doing it for the first time.
    I had a doubt…When you say that we can store the dough in the refrigerator….should we cling wrap the dough itself or put the dough in a vessel and then cling wrap the vessel….and does this matter?
    Thank you so much!!

  8. Hello Garima..
    Tried my hands on bread baking for the first time yesterday.. and followed this recipe step by step..
    And the bread turned out to be the yummiest thing!
    Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe, will surely try other breads mentioned in your blog 🙂 🙂

  9. OMG!! OMG!! i finally did it… I Made this as you had directed and came out so flavourful.. I don’t have an oven ..so i did this on a gas Top. But still the it came our crunchy on back and soft and yummy throughout. I substituted with Semolina and had added flavours like basil, paprika, tomato and corn. …Thank you so much for this !!!

      1. Thank you … I have made a system called Dutch Oven.. where i use a bog vessel with a lid.. I make all my tandoori dishes in this Dutch oven. I was very worried to try breads in this.. and kept such a watchful eye… but finally in half the time it takes in an oven … my bread was out in 12 mins 🙂

  10. Hi Garima! I gave it a try. Infact I am writing this post while I kept it covered in a bowl. It’s been 20 mins and it’s summer time but it’s not rising. Thing is I got the yeast from a place where you get all baking items in Kolkata. It’s called best active dry yeast and doesn’t need proving. Calls for direct use. As I didn’t get any other I was left with no other option. Rest I followed all your steps. But it’s not yielding any result. What to be done next time?

    1. Hey Sutupa
      I always prove the yeast in warm water and sugar no matter what the pack says. That cannot harm. Currently I’m using instant yeast from Gloripan which ideally needn’t be proved. But I do it to save the wastage later.
      I suggest you prove before you proceed next time. I did a pictorial for proving in my Pav post. See that if it helps you 🙂

    1. Buttermilk can be made in three ways
      1. Simply thin down one third cup of yogurt/dahi with 2/3 cup of water and whisk
      2. In a cup of milk, add a tsp and a half of vinegar. Let it stand for a few minutes till the milk splits. Mix and use
      3. If you’ve extract butter at home from malai, the liquid left behind is buttermilk.
      If using store bought, go for plain not masala chanas.

  11. Hi tried this bread .. It turned out bit sour .. Although butter milk wasnot sour . And yeast was olso as oer recipe. The texture was good . Proofing was same as per recipe too .. Kindly guide were i went wrong thanx

    1. Hi Pami
      Was it too hot and maybe the dough got over proofed? I haven’t had a sour tasting bread ever and this is one recipe I make on a regular basis.
      As soon as the dough doubles, one can proceed with the next step. Need not wait out the hour. That’s the only reason I can think of really. 🙂

      1. Yes may be amd thays y the sides of bread became hard as well . I supppose . Well thax wilgive second try soon

  12. Hi Garima! My foccacia didn’t turn brown even though I tried 200 c for 5 mins. The middle is soft but the sides are hard. What could have gone wrong?

    1. Oh!
      Sorry but I have no idea about microwave baking . I guess you need to use the grill option in the last few minutes for browning. You will also need to check the temperature as per the microwave .

  13. Garima your recipes re a blessing to me I take coking classes and your recipes re a hit in my classes because of you and your recipes I doing very gud thank you garima waiting for more

  14. Hello Garima aunty!
    Just going to try your Focaccia bread..
    Can 6 our please tell me what is the measure of your 1 cup in gm?

  15. I do try most of your recipes and thank you so much they are awesome ….I followed your recipe for focaccia but when came to rolling it was very difficult since the dough was still a bit sticky. I just pressed it with my palms …. Was I wrong somewhere?

  16. Hi Garima, i made this and it turned out awesome. however i have one query… should i put water too when i used instant yeast since in instant yeast i put directly in the flour so the water that is used in dry yeast should it be added here. also when i keep dough in the freezer , should it be after the second proofing

    1. Hi Pinky
      Add instant yeast starlight to the flour and add water slowly to get a soft and pliable dough.
      You can keep the dough in the fridge after the first rise 🙂

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