Focaccia – Bread Art

The latest lockdown baking trend on social media, focaccia bread art is an enjoyable lockdown family activity – Parvathy Menon

Focaccia - Bread Art

Focaccia bread art is the latest lockdown baking trend on social media. Focaccia — a flat Italian bread — has become the new canvas for amateur chefs and kitchen artists developing culinary skills during the pandemic lockdown. Olives, bell peppers, mushrooms, sausages, meat strips and sundry toppings are used as embellishments for presenting trees, forests, human faces. Creating these edible works of art is an enjoyable lockdown family activity.

Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread similar in style and texture to pizza dough. It can be served with meals or used as sandwich bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water divided into two bowls
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup olive oil for the pan and for drizzling on the focaccia bread
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2.5 tsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • Vegetables, herbs and meat for the topping

Preparation guide

  • Add one cup of warm water to the yeast and sugar and mix thoroughly. Set aside for about 5 minutes. Now, knead a dough by adding about 1 cup of flour and mix using a blender.
  • Add the rest of the water, olive oil and salt and half of the remaining flour. Continue adding the flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add a few more tablespoons of flour until it comes together. The dough will be very soft.
  • Keep mixing until the dough develops enough gluten so that when you touch it, it bounces back. Place your dough in a bowl with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size. If you’re using active dry yeast, it will take longer to double in size.
  • Pour enough olive oil into a 12″x17″ sheet pan (or any pan of similar size) so there is a thin layer of oil covering
    the entire bottom of the pan.
  • Rub olive oil on your hands to prevent sticking and then pull the focaccia dough out of the bowl. It will be loose. Divide into two. Place it in the pan and begin stretching it.
  • Once you’re done stretching, cover it with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge overnight.
  • When you’re ready to bake your bread, take it out of the fridge and let it warm for about 30 minutes. Dimple the surface with oiled fingers to create some areas where the olive oil can collect.
  • Drizzle a good amount of olive oil onto the top of the bread until all the dimples have a little oil in them. Sprinkle salt on top.
  • After your focaccia has risen for 30 minutes, decorate the top with veggies, herbs and meats. Check out social media for ideas on how to create bread art. Some ideas for embellishments — sliced onions as lotus; bell peppers sliced vertically (so they stay round) to look like small flowers; spring onions for stems; olives as rocks or centres of flowers; shredded parmesan for sand.
  • Brush the veggies and herbs with more olive oil to prevent burning.
  • Bake in the oven at 450ºF for 20-25 minutes or until the focaccia bread is golden brown.
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