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Monday 4 January 2010

Baking for Beginners: Mini Focaccias

I haven't baked real bread since I was at school, but as I was cooking dinner for friends, I decided to bake my own. And actually, it's pretty easy. As long as you have enough time to let the dough rest for an hour (go and have a glass of wine), it really doesn't take very long at all.

These mini focaccias are perfect. They're just the right size for one, but the topping is yummy enough to make them special. Just simple, tasty food.

You'll need:
  • 350g strong white flour. You can't use normal flour for this, make sure you get the strong stuff.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 sachet dried yeast. Don't worry, all the sachets in supermarkets are the same size.
  • 250ml tepid water.
  • 100g green or black olives, halved
For the topping -
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
Make it!
  • Lightly oil a baking tray and then sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Stir in the yeast, olive oil and water and mix everything into a dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a surface (make sure it's lightly floured first). Knead for about five minutes.
  • Put the dough into a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm place for an hour or so. It should have double in size. Punch the air out of it by kneading for another couple of minutes.
  • Knead half of the olives into the dough (and eat some of them as well, they're yummy). Divide the dough into six pieces and shape into bread roll shapes. Pop onto your baking tray and push your fingers into them to get them looking dimpled and pretty.
  • Grab your left over olives, onion pieces, salt and thyme and sprinkle across the bread rolls. Drizzle each roll with olive oil and cover again for another 30 minutes.
  • Baking time! Bake for 20-25 minutes at around 190 degrees (or gas mark 5). It's best to leave the baking park until about 30 minutes before your guests come over. Nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread to impress your guest.

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