Well, maybe not in an hour, but just over. This is the quickest bread recipe on earth. And you know what? It is delicious.
I am a great fan of the slow rise, no-knead bread that takes all day or more to prepare and cook. Not that there is much to do to the bread dough during that time, but sometimes, just sometimes, all that fore planning, well, you know…. I just want bread NOW. Fresh. Hot. Just out of the oven.
Well, it is possible.
This is another of the recipes I have made for many many years. It makes a great central piece to a Sunday lunch with friends or a Sunday dinner in front of the TV.
I bring it to the table just out of the oven, two flat focaccias steaming and smelling of that wonderful just baked bread smell, sitting on a large bread board, placed in the centre of the table.
The bread, sitting in the middle of the table, can be sliced, or cut into wedges or chunks, or if you cook it really really thin, allow people to tear a piece off to dunk into their food.
Serve my Beautiful focaccia with a bowl of home made soup.
Serve with a wonderful, filling salad with delicious juices that ooze over the plate and just ask to be soaked up by some hot fresh bread.
Serve surrounded by wonderful bread-toppings. Hummus. Home made strawberry jam. Olives. Thin slices of tomato. Fresh ricotta. Orange blossom honey. Pesto. Dukkah and fine olive oil. Roasted Red Pepper Dip. Cucumber. Lettuce and rocket and other fresh greens. Sultanas. Sliced banana. Baked Tuscan Beans. Oozey, goo-ey cheese. Char grilled eggplant slices. Chunks of roasted pumpkin and sweet potato. Oven baked tomatoes.
This is a “one-meal bread“. It doesn’t keep all that long. The next day it is likely to be a bit too hard for eating fresh, so slice it and grill it on the char-grill pan or under the broiler/griller in the oven. Smother with real butter and thin slices of cheese so that they melt over the hot bread.
Bread making is an awfully complex science. Just look at the recent post on Jugalbandi which did my head in. I always thought I was a reasonable baker of bread, but, depressed, I lowered my perception of my bread skills. I wonder what the scientific analysis of this fast no-knead bread is? And then there was my foray into baking from the Bread Bible. All the fiddling! But I made this bread again, and all was well in my bread baking heaven.
I have always used white plain flour for this, and added some gluten. White bread flour is ok too. However this time, the only flour in the house that was suitable was a bit of rye and a bit of wholemeal multigrain bread flour. I mixed them together and had just enough for the recipe. The result was wonderful.
Also, I made this lot quite thick, compared to what I normally would make. Often I make it quite thin.
Before I take the dough out of the bowl, I usually flour the top of the dough, and, as I lift it from the bottom of the bowl, I also dust a little there too. The dough is quite sticky so it helps remove it and work with it. Place flour on the bench that you will shape it on. I love a bit of flour on the bread :-) so I don’t worry about any left on the dough when it goes into the oven.
I bake it directly on an oven tray or maybe line it with some baking paper. I flour the tray or paper before I put the dough on it, to prevent it sticking.
I love to top the focaccia with sea salt. You can also use herbs or chopped olives. This time I topped with a mixture of rosemary that I had dried in my kitchen and ground together with some oven baked capsicums and a little bit of dried mushroom, along with salt. It was delicious.
One of the nice things about this recipe is that it can be cooked while the guests have their first pre-lunch glass of wine. Impress them with the smell of freshly baking bread, and it will be ready by the time their wine glass is empty.
I had a question from a reader about the use of plain (all purpose) flour without the addition of gluten. So I made the recipe using only plain flour. It is quite a tough bread – gluten gives the bread the strength to hold up the air within the dough. So I don’t recommend using only plain flour – either add gluten to it or use a bread flour.
Also have a look at my foray into fiddly rosemary focaccia.
My Deliciously Fast No Knead Focaccia
Source : I have had this recipe for years and have forgotten the source
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins + 1 hour rising time
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
3.5 cups pizza, focaccia or strong bread flour, or flour to which you add 5 Tblspn gluten
1.5 cups approx of tepid water
1 tspn sugar
[Optional step] Mix the sugar, 0.5 cup lukewarm water and the yeast with 1 Tblspn of the flour, making a sponge, and let sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Mix the flour, yeast sponge and enough of the remaining water to make a sticky dough, or if you haven’t made the sponge, mix the yeast, water, sugar and flour together to make a sticky dough. Add additional water if you need it. The dough should be a little wetter than you would normally make dough.
Leave the dough to rise for 1 – 1.5 hours.
Place the risen dough on a bench and divide into two. Shape each on a tray with well oiled fingertips.
Brush the top with olive oil and top with your choice of topping – herbs, rosemary, garlic, salt, black pepper, olive paste, slices of olives, cheese and paprika, or any topping you like (or none). Bake in the oven at the maximum temperature around 10 – 15 minutes, or until cooked and lightly browned.
Eat while still warm.