Jasminder’s Focaccia

From The Great British Book of Baking, this focaccia recipe is great as part of a buffet or a start to a meal. Crown with a colourful Mediterranean topping.

The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking
By Linda Collister
Buy on Amazon / Hive / Waterstones

Introduction

A stunningly attractive loaf with a vibrant Mediterranean topping that’s almost a meal in itself. From The Great British Bake Off series 1 contestant, Jasminder.

Makes 1 large loaf
Easy

Ingredients

For the dough:
500g strong white bread flour
½ tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet of easy-blend/easy-bake dried yeast
1-2 tbsp fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300ml lukewarm water
For the topping:
1 medium red pepper
1 medium orange pepper
1 medium green pepper
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
8 sun-dried tomato halves, from a jar, drained of oil
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary

Essential kit

You will need a large baking tray, oiled.

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a large food mixer, combine the flour with the salt and 1½ teaspoons of dried yeast from the sachet (save the rest for another recipe, or discard). Stir in the chopped rosemary, then add the oil. Using your hand or the dough hook attachment of the mixer on the lowest possible speed, work in enough of the lukewarm water to make a soft and just slightly sticky dough. Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and knead until very smooth and pliable – about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with the mixer. Return the dough to the lightly oiled bowl, turn it over so it is coated in oil, then cover the bowl with clingfilm or a snap-on lid and leave to rise until doubled in size – about 1 hour at room temperature.

Meanwhile, halve and deseed the peppers, then cut into 2cm chunks. Put into a mixing bowl with 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss until thoroughly coated. Heat a heavy grill or griddle pan and chargrill the peppers over a high heat until speckled with dark brown patches – don’t allow the peppers to blacken, as they will be cooked again in the oven. Tip them back into the mixing bowl, add the crushed garlic and a little salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes.

Punch down the risen dough to deflate, then turn out of the bowl. Set the dough in the centre of the oiled tray and press and shape with your hands to make a rough square with sides about 26cm. Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples, then poke fresh rosemary sprigs into them. Scatter the chopped tomatoes over the dough and top with the pepper mixture. Leave to rise for 20 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.

Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the top of the bread, and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the heated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/gas 5 and bake for a further 15 minutes, until the edges and base are a good golden brown – if necessary, slip the bread off the tray and bake straight on the oven shelf for a few extra minutes. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack, and eat warm.

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