basil focaccia or any focaccia is one bread that would often get picked up by me at the bread shops or bread counters in super stores.
so when i made this basil focaccia, i was in for a surprise. it was much much better than the focaccia i have had from outside. even the husband was surprised and have asked me to make focaccia again.
there was another element that added to the surprise – whole wheat flour. i had made the focaccia using whole wheat flour and it was so soft and had a great texture. i have used organic stone ground flour or atta which is made from hard durum wheat.
i have used 2 cups of water for 4 cups of whole wheat flour. depending on the quality of the flour, you may have to add less or more of the water. a point to be kept in mind when making focaccia or pizza bread, is that the dough should be smooth, flexible, elastic and a little sticky. if you use all purpose flour, than you may have to add less amount of water while kneading.
i have adapted the focaccia bread from my pizza bread recipe. the proportions in this recipe would yield 2 large focaccia bread. you can also halve the recipe proportionately.
i kneaded the whole dough at once in a stand mixer. you can also knead by your hands or in a food processor. you can check the pizza post on how the bread is first mixed and then kneaded by hands.
i have used fresh basil in this bread. if you do not have basil easily available, then use any herb or a mix of herbs. even herbs like coriander and mint which are easily available in india, can be used. however, remember that these herbs will impart their flavor. fresh herbs are best, but even dry herbs can be added in the oil.
focaccia tastes best when served warm or fresh. the next day the taste changes somewhat. with this recipe, you can use the remaining half of the dough the next day. keep the dough in the fridge after its leavened for the first time, if you want to make the bread the next day.
i have used a large tray to make the focaccia. however, you can also make small breads and baking these will take less time as compared to a large bread.
some of my readers requested me to post bread recipes as well as artisan breads and hence this post. there are a few bread recipes in the drafts that i will post soon.
i did make a video demonstrating the making of the focaccia, so that it helps you in making this lovely italian bread at home. the video is shot in the night but still helpful.
basil focaccia bread video:
italian basil focaccia bread recipe below:
- 4 cups whole wheat flour/atta
- 2 cups water
- 2.5 to 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1.5 tsp dry active yeast
- 1 tsp salt or 1.5 tsp salt (i added 1.5 tsp)
- 2 tbsp chopped basil or any fresh herb or a mix of herbs
- 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ or ½ tsp red chili powder or paprika
- rinse, dry and chop the basil leaves. warm the olive oil in a bowl.
- add the basil leaves, red chili powder or paprika.
- stir well and let the basil leaves steep in the warm oil for atleast 30 minutes.
- warm the 2 cups water in a bowl. dissolve the sugar in the water.
- add the active dry yeast and stir.
- allow this mixture to sit at room temperature for 10-12 minutes or till the mixture becomes frothy and bubbles up.
- if kneading in a stand mixer – in a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, salt and oil. mix at the lower speed of the mixer. add the yeast solution.
- then with the speed level required for your mixer for kneading dough, knead the dough for some minutes, till its smooth, elastic, soft and slightly sticky.
- if kneading by hands, then first add about 2 cups flour, salt and oil in the bowl.
- mix with a wooden spoon. then add ½ of the yeast solution and mix again.
- add 1 cup flour and remaining half of the yeast mixture. continue to mix and stir.
- add the last 1 cup flour and stir till the mixture begins to hold itself.
- remove from the bowl and on a smooth work surface, knead the dough till its smooth, elastic, soft and slightly sticky.
- keep the dough in a greased deep bowl. cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or lid or plastic wrap.
- you can also lightly coat the dough with olive oil or water and then keep in a deep bowl and cover the bowl.
- allow the dough to leaven for 1:30 mins or 2 hours.
- when the dough is leavened and doubled, remove from the bowl.
- flatten the dough on your work surface.
- divide into two equal parts for making two large focaccia.
- grease the pan with olive oil. flatten one part of the dough lightly and place on the pan. flatten a bit on the pan.
- now pour ¼ or ½ of the herb oil on the dough.
- with your fingers, indent or dimple the flour keeping approx ½ inch width in the bread and continue to flatten as you do so.
- cover with a lid or kitchen towel and allow to leaven again for 30-40 minutes.
- preheat the oven to at least 20 minutes before you bake the focaccia. preheat to 200 degrees C.
- after 30-40 minutes, you can add ¼ of the oil again and dimple lightly.
- if you have added ½ of the oil before, then no need to add oil again.
- the remaining ½ of the oil you will use for the second focaccia loaf. sprinkle some salt on the bread.
- now bake the bread in the hot oven for 20-30 minutes or till the surface has become golden.
- remove from the pan and allow the bread to cool on wired racks.
- slice the basil focaccia when warm or cooled down and serve immediately.