Focaccia is older than the Roman Empire and is said to originate from the Etruscans of Northern Italy. I assume that’s where the Etrusco chrysanthemum comes from too!
So, from your leaflet craft this week you should all know how to create funky focaccia floral art but how on earth does one make a focaccia in the first place?
Now that the sun is making more of an appearance and a few friends are allowed over for a garden soiree it’s time to show off your new lockdown baking skills. What better way to start off the season than by baking my focaccia!
Traditionally baked in coals (but don’t worry you can use an oven) and goes perfectly when shared and dipped in oil and vinegar.
What you need:
- 450g strong white (bread) flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 sachet easy-blend dried yeast, about 7g
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 300 ml tepid water
- ½ tsp coarse sea salt
- Put the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt and yeast. Make a well in the centre and pour in 3 tbsp of the olive oil and the tepid water. Gradually mix the flour into the oil and water, using a wooden spoon at first, then by hand, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Keep the dough moving by turning, punching and folding it to prevent it from sticking. Sprinkle the surface with a little extra flour if necessary, but try not to add too much as this will make the dough dry.
- Shape the dough into a ball and slap it onto a greased baking sheet, then roll it out (or push it out with your hands) into a round about 21 cm (8 1/2 in) in diameter and 2 cm ( 3/4 in) thick. Cover loosely with a clean tea-towel, tucking the ends under the baking sheet, and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until the dough has double 1/2 in thickness.
- Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 230ºC. Uncover the bread. Pour a little hand-hot water into a cup, then dip your fingers into the water and press into the risen dough to make deep dents all over the top; wet your fingers each time, to leave the top of the loaf moist. Brush the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil over the bread and sprinkle with the coarse salt.
- Now here comes the fun part. Time to decorate your focaccia with some edible delights and make it look like a floral picture. – Follow your leaflet craft for our tips on what food works best for this. Or just scroll down a bit further…
- Bake the focaccia for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then wrap it in a clean tea-towel to soften the crust. Serve warm or allow to cool completely.
- Red onions: thinly sliced to look like flowers
- Mini bell Peppers: sliced vertically (so they stay round) to look like small flowers or sliced horizontally (in strips) to make big flowers or sunflowers!
- Chives: Make great flower stems
- Green Onions: Also make great flower stems or seaweed
- Parsley: Perfect for leaves
- Basil: Also great for leaves or seaweed
- Cherry Tomatoes: Sliced in half lengthwise and dried with a paper towel. Makes great flower centers
- Olives: Rocks or centers of flowers
- Capers: Seed pods
- Rosemary: Small plants
- Thyme: Small plants
- Shredded Parmesan: Sand or dirt
- Tomatoes: Use a sharp knife to make tomato roses!
You’ll never eat focaccia plain again. Please do share your focaccia art with us when you make it. Email it into email@example.com or tag us on instagram, @freddiesflowers on facebook and twitter. We would love to see how creative you can get with it!
Ready. Steady. BAKE!