Every year we have a family reunion on Rottnest Island in Perth. We hire out 3 Villas and decide which will be the main Villa for meals. No matter what you do that day dinner is always with the whole family gathered around the tables and an amazing spread of food. Normally everybody contributes one thing so that no one person is stuck with the cooking all the time and it works really well. I usually contribute yummy salads or cheeses, we always have somebody on the BBQ and My Aunty Julie ( one of the best cooks I know) Makes a range of delicious dishes, one of my favourite is her Focaccia breads. She makes the dough from scratch and creates the most sensational flavour combos like Caramelised onion and fetta or goats cheese, Chicken and pesto, Smoked salmon, cream cheese and Capers, salami, or even just her simple garlic, oil and oregano is amazing.
If you make your dough in advance it is a great, quick and easy snack that always impresses! Sometimes I have simply brought some dough over to friends houses and before their eyes rolled it out, popped some toppings on it and 15 minutes later there’s an amazing gourmet style home made snack!
I don’t really put much cheese on the focaccia if any so you can make these to be fairly healthy as well.
Its also great to have some spare dough in the fridge or Freezer to make a quick Focaccia on a lazy Sunday arvo.
Twice now I have joined my aunty while she makes these breads, I cant quite say that mine are as good as hers but I have her exact recipe here so we are starting in the right place.
You will need..
375ml (1 1/2 cups) warm water
2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
Pinch of caster sugar
600g (4 cups) plain flour
1 tsp salt
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil, plus extra for brushing
If you half the yeast and make it the day before you need it, it will have a deeper more sour doughy taste.
Combine your ingredients in a bowl and mix till it is firm and not too sticky and looks like it is ready to be kneaded.
Flour a clean dry surface and place your dough on this knew surface. To knead the dough use the palms of your hands to push into the dough and then fold the edges back in and repeat. If it starts to get sticky sprinkle a little more flour and keep going, you will need to do this for at least 10 minutes until it is almost bouncy and has a nice soft smooth skin all around it.
If you are making this on the day leave it somewhere warm to rise on its own for a couple of hours. Otherwise pop it in the fridge covered for a coupe of days and let it slow rise in the fridge, If you want to cook it that night take it out that morning.
When you are ready depending on the desired size grab a big hand full of dough and roll it out, don’t roll them too thin as you want a thick moist bready texture not a thin dry pizza.
Brush with Olive oil and sprinkle some Garlic salt and fresh oregano to start. You can either just make it like this ( use a little more oil if plain) or begin adding your salami or onions and fetta or chicken and pesto or tomato Basil and Mozzarella etc.
If you do want to make the caramelised onion and goats cheese, you will need to make the onions in advance. Use red onions and cook them very very slowly until they are sweet and golden. don’t add salt until the very end. then add a dash of beer or balsamic vinegar, and sprinkling of brown or white sugar.Pop em on your Focaccia.
Pop in the oven at 170 degrees and roast for around 15- 20 minutes depending on the size, just keep an eye on them in the oven
This recipe makes 3 large focaccias and is SO yummy and gourmet, and fabulous with wine or beer.. go ahead.. make one!!