Easy Focaccia Bread with Fresh Thyme:
The perfect focaccia is soft on the inside and crisp on the outside with a distinct olive oil taste that seeps through the whole bread. This recipe has the addition of fresh thyme leaves and sea salt flakes but you can add any topping of your choice e.g. olives, rosemary, garlic, chilli, caramelised onion or no topping at all. Make it your own and keep in mind that you can’t rush good bread.
2 ¾ cups white bread flour
1 cup whole-wheat bread flour
1 sachet (10g) active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ¾ cup water
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
sea salt flakes (according to taste)
175ml warm water
2 teaspoons salt
In a large bowl mix the flour, yeast and sugar.
Make a well in the middle and add a ¼ cup olive oil, salt and water and mix by hand until combined. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 -15 minutes until smooth and the dough resists when pressed.
Lightly oil a bowl, add the dough, cover with a warm damp towel and let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°C.
Oil a large baking sheet or tin (+/-20 x 30 cm) with quality olive oil.
Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and press it down and stretch it until it fits. Use your 3 middle fingers to dimple the dough.
Make the brine and mix until the salt has dissolved. Carefully fill every pocket/hole of the dough with the salt-water mixture, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with thyme and sea salt and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes until it puffs slightly.
Bake it until golden brown for 15 – 20 minutes.
Let it cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing or breaking the pieces.
For a healthy meal serve it with a large crunchy salad and fresh sardines on the braai.