Smoked Garlic Focaccia
Recipe from Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc.
Living in Britain has enriched me enormously – its multicultural backdrop has influenced every part of me: my food, my ideas, my creativity – and this recipe is testimony to that mixing of cultures. I’ve allied my national beloved bulb of fragrance and Frenchness with an Italian classic as homage to a bread that I ate in Italy, one of the greatest I tasted in my life – it was pure delight: rustic and topped with caramelised garlic cooked in balsamic vinegar. Making focaccia is a brilliant, easy way of getting into bread-making and mastering the mysteries of yeast, which of course creates the magic of the fermentation within the bread. This hearty, simple version of focaccia has an unusual smokey tang. You can buy smoked garlic in specialised shops and online or you can buy a small smoker and do it yourself at home!
Preparation time: 10 minutes; plus proving.
|For the dough|
|Unsalted butter, for greasing|
|500g||Strong white organic bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting|
|4 tsp||Sea salt|
|2||Rosemary sprigs, finely chopped|
|10||Smoked garlic cloves, finely chopped|
|6 -7 tbsp||Good-quality olive oil|
|Good-quality olive oil, for brushing|
|2 tsp||Sea salt|
Lightly grease two round 20cm x 3cm baking tins, then dust them with flour. If you do not have round tins, shape and press the whole dough into a roasting tin or deep baking tray to make one large focaccia or simply shape it roughly with your hands on a baking tray.
To prepare the dough
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, 2 teaspoons of the salt, the rosemary and garlic. In a separate bowl dissolve the yeast in the water.
Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the yeast mixture, half the oil and gradually mix together with your fingertips. Once the dough comes together, start to knead on a lightly floured work surface for 3–4 minutes. This will work the gluten and give the bread dough its strength and structure. Add the remaining oil whilst kneading and continue for a further 5–8 minutes. Of course, this can be done by a machine – it’s easier but you won’t derive as much pleasure as doing it by hand. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and prove at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough in half and roll each piece out to fit into one of the tins. Press the dough down with your fingertips to cover the base. Prove in a warm place (at 30°C maximum), again covered with a clean cloth until it doubles in volume; this usually takes 30–40 minutes. It’s important to cover the bread with a cloth, as it will exclude any draft and prevent a crust forming.
Preheat the oven to 270ºC/Gas Mark 9.
Lightly brush the dough with a little olive oil and sprinkle the sea salt or other garnishes (see notes) over the top. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Turn out of the tins to cool on a wire rack. It’s important not to leave the bread in the tin, otherwise it will steam and the crust will not be as crisp.
Recipe from Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc published by Headline Ltd.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2015.
Photograph © Jean Cazals 2015.