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Tomato, Olive and Basil Pesto Focaccia

Tomato, Olive and Basil Pesto Focaccia

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Good bread takes time but one bite of this focaccia makes it all worth it. We guarantee this will be flattened in minutes.

  • Makes : 6-8 |
  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 2:30 hours |
  • Cook Time : 30 mins
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Dough

500 g white flour
400 g water
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
10 g instant yeast
10 g salt

Toppings

1 small punnet of baby tomatoes (red, yellow, green), halved
½ C (125 ml) olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

a jar of basil pesto
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Dough

Recipe note: this bread dough uses the stretch and fold method of kneading because this is a very wet dough. To perform a stretch and fold all you need to do is grab a corner of the dough, stretch it up out of the bowl and fold the piece over the remaining dough in the bowl. By doing this you develop the gluten in the dough and create strength. It is a simple process but it makes working with very wet dough much easier than traditional countertop kneading. The stretch and folds happen at 10-minute intervals for 40 minutes, as the dough goes through its first proof or fermentation.

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, yeast and water. Using your hand or a large spoon, mix the dough until there is no dry flour. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 20 minutes to let the flour absorb the water. After 20 minutes sprinkle the salt over the dough then, wet your hand to prevent the dough from sticking to you and press the salt into the dough to distribute it.

Now grab a corner of the dough and stretch it up then fold it over itself then rotate the bowl lightly and repeat the motion. Do this until you’ve folded the dough over itself 10 times. At this point, you will already begin to feel the dough strengthen and taking shape. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and set your timer for 10 minutes. You are going to fold every 10 minutes for 40 minutes. It’s time-consuming but the end product is so worth it.

After 10 minutes, you’re going to fold the dough again but only 4 times. Imagine your bowl is a compass with four points. With a wet hand start at North and scoop under the dough at pull it up and fold it over itself. Then rotate the bowl anticlockwise and repeat the scoop and fold at East, then rotate to South and repeat the fold and again for West. Four folds is one rotation.

Now cover the dough with a kitchen towel and set the timer for 10 minutes. Repeat this process another 3 times. After 4 sets of stretch and folds, cover the dough tea towel and let it prove for another 45-60 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.

Toppings

Mix the olive oil, garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Slice the tomatoes and red onion and set aside.

Generously oil a nonstick baking tray with olive oil then gently turn the dough out onto it. Rub your fingers in a little oil then gently press and stretch the dough out with your fingers to fill the shape of your baking tray.

Pour the garlic and parsley olive oil over the dough and evenly distribute it with your hands. Scatter the red onion over the dough and gently press it in. Press the tomatoes cut side up into the dough. Lastly, use your fingertips to dimple the dough all over.

Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and allow to prove for another 30-45 minutes until it has visibly puffed up. While the dough is proving, preheat your oven to 200 ºC.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top of the focaccia is crispy and golden brown.

As soon as the focaccia comes out of the oven, drizzle it with a little more olive oil. Top with dollops of basil pesto, allow it to cool slightly and serve.