Basil, Olive and Feta Foccacia

Basil, Olive and Feta Foccacia
I have an addiction.

I go to the store and I flip through magazines filled with *gasp* food! I also get them if they have a lot of food photos that I like.

Bad part is, I just look at the pictures and drool over them most of the time. I don't usually cook anything in it unfortunately, though I often want to but I don't like following set rules and recipes feel like rules to me rather than say... guidelines?

This would be costly if I didn't get some free magazines(Food & Drink) from the LCBO to help feed my addiction. I guess that's why I have a tendency to focus on food photography more so than just writing out recipes.

But once in a while I find a recipe in one of those magazines and I just HAVE to make it because it seems too easy to not do it and I've probably never done it before.

Basil, Olive and Feta Foccacia
Basil, Olive and Feta Foccacia
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Italian Special Issue
  • 2 cups (475ml) all purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 cups (475ml) whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (130ml) warm water(warmer than room temp but not warm enough to be uncomfortable to the touch)
  • 1/2 package(1 teaspoon/5ml) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (235ml) warm water (same as the first)
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
  • sliced olives
  • crumbled feta
  • fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
  • pinch of course salt
First off, mix the flours together and whisk so they are combined well.

This recipe requires you to make a sponge. For this you take 1/2 cup of flour and place in a large bowl with the half cup warm water and the yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand anywhere from 2-8 hours. This is to allow it to ferment, I personally couldn't wait the whole time, I think I made it a minute past the 2 hour mark.

Stir in the 1 cup of water a little at a time. Add in the salt and just enough of the flour to make the dough pull away from the sides of the bowl.

*Tip* When stirring up bread dough, try using the handle of a long wooden type spoon. If you have one, using a long chopstick works even better. It helps to keep the dough from sticking too much to the utensil and is much easier to clean off.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead enough flour to make a soft dough. It should be smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough ball lightly, and cover. Place in a warm place where a draft cannot get to it and allow to rise about 1 hour.

Prep a large baking pan (pizza pan works well) by either taking an oiled napkin and running it around the pan or line with parchment paper.

Punch the dough down and allow to rest 10 minutes.

Oil your hands and place dough in the pan. Brush the top of the dough with oil then, using your fingers, make deep dimples in the dough, about 1/2 inch. Cover with plastic again and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F(200C).

Take the olives, feta and basil and spread on top of the foccacia. Sprinkle salt on top and place in oven. Bake 18 - 20 minutes  or until golden. Check about half way through and deflate any large bubbles with the poke of a knife.

When done cooking, place on a rack to cool for about 15 - 20 minutes.

This bread is very versatile. You can make it into small mini loaves (as in the original recipe) or in a big one like I did. You can also top it with a number of different ingredients, just let your craving drive you :D!

It's also a great soup, salad, or pasta type of bread so be sure to top it with something that will go with what ever you might be having it with.

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