One of our lovely bake club members posted a gorgeous photo a few weeks back. It was an image of someone’s beautiful Focaccia art. Many of us decided that we needed to give it a go. It was a work of art, and lots of fun.
You can use whatever recipe you want for this, I used my sourdough recipe, but any Focaccia or Pizza base recipe will work fine. Just make sure you prove it properly. In my experience, that’s where most people make mistakes with their bread making.
Making focaccia or pizza dough by hand can be fun. Of course, you could use a Thermomix or Stand mixer to do the kneading for you.
Stand mixer (optional)
- 500 g strong white bakers flour
- 2 tsp flaked sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp dried yeast
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 300 ml lukewarm water
- olive oil
- melted butter for brushing on the top
Fill a measuring jug with 300 g of lukewarm water then add the yeast and sugar and mix with a fork. Set this aside for 5 – 10 mins to activate the yeast.
In the meantime, place the flour and salt into a large bowl, and make a well in the centre
Check the yeast and, when it starts to foam, slowly pour it into the well, mixing as you go.
As soon as all the ingredients come together, which may take a minute or so, knead vigorously for around 5 minutes or until the dough comes together and is smooth and soft.
Lightly oil a large bowl with some olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
After around 15 minutes of proving time set the oven to preheat to 220°C and get your baking tray ready. Rub the whole base of your baking tray with olive oil.
Take the risen dough out of the bowl and place it on the benchtop, (lightly dust if needed, try not to use too much flour) flatten it by pressing down with the palm of your hand or using a rolling pin. You’re trying to make the same size as the size of your tray. Place it in the tray and shape as best you can. Remember it will even out a bit when it rises in the oven.
Brush the melted butter over the surface of your dough and decorated however you wish. Have fun.
To knead with a Thermomix bring together on speed 4 -5 then knead for 2 minutes. Or for a stand mixer bring together then knead for 5 mins with a dough hook.
Now to make the decoration. I started by using melted butter to brush over the surface to give my Focaccia that lovely golden brown glow. Then for the fun part, the decorating.
I went out into the garden and grabbed what I could find. It’s getting chilly here now in Melbourne (May is late Autumn) so things are starting to die back. I managed to get some spring onion, parsley, rosemary and a few tomatoes. The red onion and corn was in the pantry.
Topping ideas for focaccia art
- spring onion
- red onion
- sun-dried tomato
- herbs like rosemary, thyme etc
- corn kernels
- celery stalks and leaves
- zucchini and zucchini flowers
- limited only by your imagination and taste buds
One of the girls asked what did I use to make the tulips. I used these little tomatoes to make my flowers. I cut the fat end into points. I love tomatoes and eat them pretty much every day, although I don’t really like my tomatoes baked. I would have used capsicum if I had any. Do you like soft warm tomatoes? 🙂