I apologise for being so remiss with my postings this past week but I have been busy surfing the NSW coast, Byron Bay to be precise. I had full intentions of posting while I was away and even had posts prepared but after a days surfing and lounging in the sun I was too exhausted to plug the laptop in (which I only had with me because the first few days I was working over in NSW) and was more inclined to spend my last vestiges of energy on food and wine!
I can see why people move to North East Australia, the weather is perfect, the surf made me cry it was so perfect (see below for those who care for surf) and the produce is in abundance. I am pleased it isn’t too far away so we can pop across for a fix whenever we need it. Apart from surfing I managed to go to Matt Moran’s Aria restaurant, which I have been wanting to visit for a long time, unfortunately it was closed for the public holiday.. boo..hoo so I only have a photo of me outside and we had to eat elsewhere, although the restaurant we went to was excellent and I was no longer dissapointed. Maybe next time we are in Brisbane or Sydney I will have better luck.
Anyway, enough of Aussie and back to NZ. A few weeks ago I went to an Italian pizza and bread course run by two lovely ladies, Raffaela and Patricia, at Al Dente who not only worked wonders with pizza dough but also showed us how to make a quick easy focaccia which was incredibly light and airy. For those who live in the Auckland area I highly recommend their classes, not only was it informative and hands one, the ladies are so hospitable and welcoming and there was no rush to finish the course. Rather you were invited to stay longer, chat with their Italian friends they had invited over to share the huge amount of pizza we created and enjoy an Italian family atmosphere.
I have made the bread three times now and also shown my class how to make it and each time it turns out perfect. The difference with this dough is that it is more like a wet ‘poolish‘ and not one you knead. Next time I make it a I will photograph the dough before baking and add it to this post, in the mean time here is the recipe and feel free to ask any questions.
- 500g High grade flour (strong flour)
- 500 ml+ Luke warm (room temperature)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon dry Yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- Olive Oil
- Emulsion : olive oil and water
- Sea salt
- Pre heat oven to 200C
- In a large bowl mix with your hands flour, sugar and yeast.
- Pour in the water.
- Add salt and knead in the bowl for 5 minutes. Eventually add more water.
- Pour in about 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and mix it so the oil covers the dough and goes down the side of the dough.
- Allow to rise covered with plastic wrap for about 1 hour or until it doubles.
- Pour the dough onto a well floured work surface (without kneading any further).
- Grease with plenty of Olive Oil a shallow oven dish or a baking tray with edges.
- 6. Emulsion: in a small bowl whisk olive oil and warm water until well mixed.
- 7. Pour onto the focaccia and press with your fingers to create multiple wells.
- 8. The focaccia does not need rising at this stage (but it does not harm it. It will just make it thicker).
- 9. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes.