Well, this hasn’t been the most relaxing Spring Break I’ve ever experienced. For some reason, our program decided the rough drafts of our Master’s Projects were due this week and then I had to grade a bunch of undergraduate policy memos. Luckily, I did find some time to bake!
I’ve been kind of obsessed with kalamata olives lately. Growing up, I only ever had the canned California black olives (which are fine), but I really like the briny bitterness of kalamatas. So, I decided to try an olive focaccia, which is really just plain old focaccia with a bunch of olives stuck on top.
I used to make my bread doughs in the food processor to save time and effort kneading them by hand. However, I made the pita bread dough last week and this focaccia dough by hand, and I actually think I like it better. It does take a little longer to knead the dough by hand, but it’s somehow more satisfying and even calming. I seem to get better results this way, too.
I used half all-purpose flour and half bread flour for this recipe, but it would be delicious if you only used on or the other as well.
Anyway, this recipe turned out a huge loaf of focaccia, so I know what I’ll be eating for the next several days (lots of great sandwiches!). Next time I think I’ll add some chopped rosemary into the dough.
Adapted from A Spicy Perspective
1 3/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, combine the yeast and the warm water and let set for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Mix in the honey and the olive oil.
Add in the flour and salt. Mix until combined, then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead from 5-10 minutes, or until your dough is smooth and elastic. Coat a bowl with olive oil, and place the ball of dough in the bowl, making sure to coat it with the olive oil in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down your dough and press the dough into a rectangle. Depending on how thick you want the final product, you can press it all the way to the edges of a rimmed cookie sheet or just freestyle like I did. Press dimples into the dough with your fingers. Place an olive in each dimple, pressing down as far as you can so that the olives don’t pop out while it’s baking. Cover the dough with a clean damp towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. When the dough is done rising, drizzle more olive oil over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.