With some extra time to spare over the past month, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen experimenting with recipes new and old. The latter more so, I’ve been gravitating towards home-cooked dishes I would have when I was younger – when my mom lived in Singapore and she would cook dinner daily. It’s comforting having food that reminds you of your childhood, especially since I’ve moved into a place of my own, the meals I choose to prepare definitely help in making our house a home. One of the recipes I most fondly remember (and crave regularly), is my mom’s Focaccia Bread.
It involved a fairly easy recipe: buy a packet of focaccia pre-mix and pour it into a bread maker, add water and an egg, leave overnight to bake. However, given that I have no bread maker, and that the focaccia pre-mix seems to have discontinued (we used to buy it from Giant Tampines), I had to attempt an impossible task: build and knead the dough from scratch.
This loaf recipe took me three tries to get right, I initially attempted this recipe, but didn’t like the flat-biscuit-like appearance and texture (I wanted a LOAF). Additionally, I felt the essence of rosemary could be brought out more, and Imran preferred for the loaf to be less “chewy”. So I’ve adapted the recipe: Added more yeast, reduced the amount of flour, and introduced a whole lot more rosemary and garlic. I give to you, my ideal Focaccia Loaf.
Rosemary Focaccia Loaf
Ingredients (Makes 1 Loaf):
2 Tablespoons of Rosemary
1 Tablespoon of Thyme
3-4 Cloves of Garlic (Chopped)
¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Packet of Yeast (or 11g)
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Cups of Bread Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Bread Baking Tray
Step 1: In a saucepan, heat the Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic, Black Pepper, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil for 2 – 3 minutes. Ensure the garlic does not turn brown.
To give the olive oil mixture a bit more flavour, I took actual rosemary leaves and tossed them into the pan!
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the Warm Water, Yeast, and Honey. Let sit for 5 minutes. *Note: Ensure the water is not boiling, if the water is too hot, it could kill the yeast and all its rising powers.
Step 3: After 5 minutes, add 1 cup of Bread Flour, and ¼ cup of the olive oil mixture. Let sit for 5 minutes, this lets the dough and yeast come together and creates a puffy appearance.
Step 4: Add in the remaining 1 cup of Bread Flour, and the Salt into the bowl.
Step 5: Once the dough comes together, transfer to a flat surface or wooden board, knead until smooth, or until the dough does not stick to the surface. Dust the surface with bread flour if necessary.
Step 6: Oil your bread baking tray with the rest of the olive oil mixture in the saucepan, then add in the dough. Cover with a damp towel, let the dough rise for 1 hour. If the dough does not rise after an hour, you might need to introduce more yeast and warm water.
Your dough should rise – this is what it should look like after 30 minutes, you can continue to allow it rise further. As you wish!
Step 7: Bake at 200°C for 25-30 minutes. Remove bread from the tray and let it cool down. Serve with butter or eat as is!
L: Serve on a cake tray (this one from Hiatus Home), garnish with fresh rosemary for decoration.
R: Another gift packaging suggestion: wrap the loaf in brown tissue paper or place it in a canvas pouch (both tissue and pouch from Packeverything), your loaf will immediately look like it came from a legit bakery!
Adorn your pouch and wrapping paper with stickers (I find a lot of cute ones on Etsy), and of course, write a personal note to go with your loaf for that personal touch.
There you have it, a simple loaf that you can make easily, a loaf to remember, and one that will make your house feel like a home.