Saturday, February 22, 2014

Focaccia bread with herb oil

I am on a baking spree this month. It all started with Arun's b'day for which I did quite a lot of research and finalized on a mango custard cake with mango pudding filling and mango cream frosting.

I have been thinking of baking a bread since sometime now. So when I saw a recipe for Focaccia caprese in Ria's Collection I thought I would try baking the focaccia bread. Focaccia is a type of flat Italian bread made with yeast and olive oil and flavored with herbs. Caprese is a salad of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Focaccia bread in the recipe was topped with this trio combination and hence the name Focaccia Caprese. This recipe is an adapted version by Aparna of the original recipe from Kitchen Whisperer. This recipe does not require any fancy gadget and I kneaded the dough with my hands. And I modified the recipe a bit due to unavailability of an ingredient. You might think it must be one of the herbs which is not usually used in south Indian cooking. But no, I had all of those, but I had only 2 cups of all purpose flour. So I used 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat floor. Now when I think of it, I feel glad I didn't have 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour. If I had I wouldn't have dared to use whole wheat flour in my first attempt to bake a bread. Now that I have used it and found that the bread came out good and since these days I am in search of healthy recipes, I would probably stick on to that.

Focaccia with herb oil

Original recipe: Kitchen whisperer
Adapted by: Aparna
Makes two medium sized or four small focaccia


For the bread
2 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose (I used 2 cups all purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 olive oil (regular also works)
1 - 1 1/2 cups warm water
A little more olive oil for brushing the dough
For the herb oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
Salt to taste


Herb oil: Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Bread: Mix together all the ingredients through olive oil and then add in the warm water and form a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky. Form a ball of the dough, take it out, oil the bowl with some extra olive oil, put the dough back in and coat it by turning the dough a couple of times. Cover and let it rise until doubled, for about an hour.

Pre heat the oven to 210C / 400F. Once risen, take the dough out and divide into two. Place them on a cookie sheet and press it out gently to 1 inch thickness.I shaped mine into a circle. Let it rise for 20 mins. Slightly oil your fingers and poke into the dough at equal intervals to create a dimpled effect. Brush the top of the bread with the herb oil, generously. Bake for 18-20 mins or until golden brown.
I made 2 medium sized Focaccia. We had one straight out of oven (along with soup) and the other, next day. It was a bit chewy when we had it the first day. I think that was because we didn't wait for the bread to cool down even a bit. When I said 'straight out of oven' I meant literally and not figuratively. It was dense yet spongy on the second day. The flavorful herb oil made contributed heavily in making this bread totally delicious. I would definitely make this again and next time possibly make some sandwiches out of it.