Cherry Tomato and thyme Focaccia

Hello! I’ve been meaning to post this Focaccia recipe since last year – I’m such a bad blogger! Hope you are all well and having a good “Summer” despite the wet, stormy and humid weather – it’s been cooler in the Highlands over the last couple of days which I am welcoming with open arms. Bump and I were struggling to cope last week with the humidity! I ended up getting signed off work with pregnancy exhaustion and another few issues. It was nothing to seriously worry about but I was forced to put my feet up and rest for a few days. But without further ado, I give you my cherry tomato and thyme Focaccia bread. 

This is such a beautiful, herby bread studded with cherry tomatoes. I love to make this using the different coloured tomatoes you can usually find around this time of year. It looks so pretty. I used to be scared of making Focaccia, but Once you get the hang of the wet dough, it’s really quite easy. If you have a stand mixer I recommend using it for this recipe. Otherwise, get your hands in to the mixing bowl and take off any rings – it’s going to get very sticky! Just don’t be tempted to add more flour. 

Makes one large Focaccia

500g strong white flour
1x7g sachet fast action yeast
10g salt
400ml tepid water
40g garlic oil, plus more for drizzling
Small bunch of fresh thyme
Small punnet of fresh cherry tomatoes, halved

Weight out the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast and salt at opposite sides of the bowl (Placing salt directly on top of yeast can stop it from working.)

Pour the water and the garlic oil over the flour and using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix together. It will seem far too wet and you may think you’ve added to much water, but don’t worry! It’s meant to be this way. Once you have a very wet dough, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Turn out onto a lightly oiled work surface and knead for at least 10 minutes, or for 5-7 minutes using a food mixer. Don’t be tempted to add more flour – it will change the texture of the bread. Place dough back in the bowl and leave to rest for 1-2 hours or until almost doubled in size.

When the dough has almost doubled in size, tip out onto a large baking tray which you have drizzled with olive oil. The dough will start to collapse and flatten. Lightly oil your hands and fold the dough in half a couple of times. This should help it hold its shape a little. Flatten the dough out into a Foccacia shape, trying to get the dough to reach right to the edges of the tray. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for 45 minutes- 1 hour or until doubled in size again.

Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/Gas mark 8. When the dough has proved, poke dimples into the dough using your fingers. You need to press down quite firm. Place the halved cherry tomatoes into the dimples, scatter over the thyme leaves, drizzle with a little more garlic oil and scatter over some sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

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