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   Welcome to The Cherry Tomato! On this blog I share simple and tasty recipes, hacks to make your life much easier in the kitchen and tidbits to help you maintain your kitchenware...... So, have a look around the site and have fun cooking!!!

Half and Half Focaccia Bread

I woke up one day craving foccaccia bread. When I was in uni, we had really crap food at the cafeteria and the only other alternatives were McDonalds, a supermarket sandwich or a row of not so student friendly eateries. I say not so student friendly because an average meal was like £10 when we genuinely had a £3 budget lol. our campus was bang in the heart of the financial district so we had the likes of Deusche Bank next to us and we all know those guys had no problem spending £10 on lunch.

One day I decided to venture into one of the eateries. It was an Italian spot called Mangarie. The place was teeming with the banking types. I looked at my student self and decided to stick to my lane so I grabbed the cheapest combo meal; a tomato soup that came with bread. Foccaccia bread. This was when my love affair with the bread began. I tell you it was light and so full of flavour.  They made it with extra virgin olive oil and fresh rosemary....nom nom nom

Since then, I vowed to myself I must make this bread and finally I did it. The great thing about this bread is that you can vary the toppings. Sun dried tomatoes, olives, onions, cheese.......there's alot. For this one, I used what I found in my pantry.....olives, caramelised onions and goats cheese.

Makes one tray 12" by 8" 2 ½ cups wheat flour 1 cup warm water 1 teaspoon instant yeast 1 teaspoon salt Olive oil 100 grams goats cheese 100 grams pitted olives (black and green) Fresh or dried rosemary 100 grams caramelized onions

Special Equipment A 12" by 8" rectangular baking tray.

In a large bowl, pour in your warm water and yeast and mix well. Let this stand for about 10 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved and is frothing.

Sift in your flour and  salt and make into a soft dough. If the dough is too sticky, gradually add flour until it’s not sticky but is still soft. (This is very important because otherwise the bread will turn out extremely dense) Once you have a soft dough, roll your dough into a ball.  Coat another bowl with olive oil and place your dough inside and turn it making sure it is fully coated in olive oil.

Cover with a tea towel or cling film and set aside in a warm place for about an hour and a half until the dough has more than doubled in size.

Once the dough has proofed, take it out of the bowl and gently knead it again for about 2 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover it, letting it proof for another 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, place your dough onto your rectangular pan and using your fingertips, press down the dough to the edges of the pan. Set this aside to rise again for another 20 to 25 minutes. Once risen, sprinkle your chopped olives and rosemary on one half and your goats cheese and caramelized onions on the other half.

Preheat your oven and 220℃ for 10 minutes, then put the bread in to cook for about 20 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown colour.

Serve with some chilli flavoured olive oil or as an accompaniment to a pasta dish or a meatball sauce.


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