Making bread is something I don’t do often enough. I’m not sure why, I bake often and I love bread, really love it! If there was such a thing as a bread diet I would happily try it! I guess I tend to think of making bread as time-consuming and dare I say I guess I’m a little scared of bread baking!
Well its said that one should face their fears so when I saw that my Twitter friend Barb was part of a blogging event called #TwelveLoaves, a monthly bread baking blog event I knew immediately that I wanted to take part. Now I’d make bread at least once every month. Not only does this challenge involve baking bread but different kinds of bread which will really challenge my bread making fears! Somehow I missed the first couple of months of 12 loaves, organised by Barb, Jamie and Lora but I’ve discovered it now and I’m up for the rest of the challenge!
The #TwelveLoaves September challenge is bread with cheese. I’ve left this right to the end of the month so I needed a recipe that wouldn’t be too challenging! I thought focaccia would be a relatively easy choice so I made one with mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes, scattered with tiny leaved Greek basil. It was easy, and didn’t take too long, I loved the melted mozzarella and slightly crisped sun-dried tomato topping! So there, I made bread!
I based my recipe on Gennaro Contaldo’s garlic and rosemary focaccia from his Passione book.
Mozzarella and sun-dried Tomato Focaccia for #TwelveLoaves
(recipe adapted from Gennaro Contaldo’s Focaccia with rosemary and garlic)
- 300 gram strong plain white flour
- 200 gram semolina, I used fine cornmeal
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 x 7 gram sachets of fast action bread yeast
- 350 ml lukewarm water
For the topping
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 125 gram mozzarella pearls or one mozzarella ball torn into pieces
- 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil.
- few basil leaves torn
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 240 C, 475 F, Gas 9.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, semolina and salt.
- Measure the lukewarm water into a jug and add the yeast, stir to combine and pour into the bowl with the flour.
- Mix until ingredients are combined and knead for about 5 minutes, I use my mixer but if you don’t have one just knead the dough with your hands on a floured work surface.
- If using a mixer leave the dough ball in the bowl, if kneading by hand form the dough into a ball and place back into the bowl then cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes or until the dough has double in size.
- Put the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll to a rectangle approximately 15 x 11 inches ( 37 x 27 cm).
- Put a similarly sized baking tray into the oven for about 10 seconds (I’m not sure why, this is what Genaro said!).
- Remove tray from the oven and sprinkle with a little semolina.
- Place the already rolled dough onto the tray, pour the olive oil onto the dough and with your fingers spread all over.
- Rest the dough for 5 minutes then using your fingers poke little indentations all over the dough.
- Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the oil and snip into small pieces with scissors, place on top of the dough.
- Push the mozzarella pearls (or pieces depending on what you are using) into over the dough.
- Scatter the basil leaves and grind some fresh black pepper over the dough.
- Leave the focaccia to rest in a warm place for a further 30 minutes.
- Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
- Once cooked remove from the oven and drizzle with a little olive oil. When slightly cooled cut and serve.