Large quantities of carbohydrate is one of the few cures to absorb the sins of a night spent on paint thinner (aka Teachers Whiskey).
I myself was spared the burden of finishing off this bottle which was more suited to stripping the splatters of paint on parts of the wooden floorboards. It would seem chivalry is not dead after the four gentlemen repeatedly took swigs for the team.
As one can imagine, Sunday was a rather chilled out day. The afternoon was spent munching on freshly baked focaccia bread smothered in butter and watching X-men first class on a stupidly large TV all snuggled up in a large quilt on the couch. It was raining and dreary and to be honest I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday. It was cosy.
I can't believe two of us went through the entire loaf. No wonder i'm getting chubby. This happiness chubbiness needs to stop. I demand someone makes me upset!! Now!! Summer is coming!!
The weather outside made going to the supermarket an unappealing activity. The reason this is called lazy people's focaccia is because we were too lazy to get high grade flour as well as being too lazy and impatient to let the bread rise properly. We just whacked it in the oven.
The end results were luscious. The bread was soft and fluffy on the inside and when the crisp surface was tapped the most satisfying of hollow sounds was produced. That evening we did end up going to the supermarket because we wanted to make pizza for dinner and bought high grade flour. When we made up the focaccia dough again to make the pizza bases with, it was nowhere near as excellent and soft.
The smell of this cooking in the oven reminded me of intermediate school when I was 11 years old when we had to make it as part of home economics. I kept the topping simple with just olive oil, rock salt and rosemary (which we stole from the bush down the road).
To speed up the rising process, preheat the oven to 100 degrees on bake. Take your kneaded dough, lube it up with a good slosh of olive oil and rub it all over the surface of the dough ball. This will prevent it drying out in the oven. Once the oven it up to temperature, whack the dough in a bowl, pop it in the oven then turn the oven off. Leave for like 15 minutes before removing and rolling out again.
Lazy People's Focaccia
Makes one really large loaf that should really be shared by at least six people, not two . . .
4 cups plain flour (plus up to another cup to sprinkle over as you knead it in)
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
300ml warm water
2 good sloshes of olive oil
rock salt, rosemary and more olive oil to top it with
Preheat the oven to 100 degrees on bake.
Activate the yeast by stirring it in with the warm water and sugar and leaving for 10 minutes so it becomes frothy.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre.
Slosh some olive oil into the yeast mix then pour the liquid into the well of the flour. Using a butter knife, stir the dough until it comes together. Tip out onto a floured bench and knead. Sprinkle over more flour if it is too sticky (which it will be). You may need to use up to a cup as you knead. You want the final dough to be smooth and soft. This dough won't be as stiff and stubborn as normal bread dough since we are using flour with a lower gluten content (the protein which makes a dough stretchy).
Pour some olive oil onto your hands and rub it all over the dough ball. Place the ball in a bowl then pop it in the warm oven. As soon as the dough goes into the oven, turn the oven off. The residual heat will be enough to rise the dough quickly.
The dough won't rise very much but it will become quite soft.
Preheat the oven again to 200 degrees on bake.
Line a baking tray (or pizza tray in our case) with baking paper. Roll out the dough until it is 15-20mm thick and flip it onto your baking surface. Use the tips of your fingers to cover the surface with indents. Spread a good few sloshes of olive oil over the bread and spread it over with your fingers (we are too lazy to find and then dirty up a pastry brush!). Sprinkle over the rock salt (amount depends on your taste) and the rosemary leaves. Whack it in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the surface becomes golden and when tapped, a hollow sound is produced.
Serve straight out of the oven with butter, avocado, chutney, whatever really (the fridge was rather barren).