The Easter weekend arrived like a much-needed balm for our souls. A few days off with no plans; just the three of us enjoying sunny skies, walks through the snow, and, of course, good food.
Our holiday began on skärtorsdag [Holy Thursday] with a dinner that I had had in mind for days. Nutty coppa, served alongside a creamy burrata, roasted Marcona almonds, and blanched white asparagus. The combination was wonderful, with the savory notes of the coppa balancing out the mild sweetness of the almonds and the delicate flavor of the asparagus. I couldn’t help but think something pickled would have made it even better – perhaps some tangy cornichons, capers, or pickled baby onions.
On the side, a focaccia, which had no other choice than to be quick-to-make, as it was very much not planned.
As with most thing bread, I turned to baker-extraordinaire Dan Lepard, of which I’ve already shared a fantastic focaccia recipe. And while it is everything I want and more, it unfortunately takes many hours to prepare. So I looked through my notebooks and found one of his recipes for a simple focaccia that happened to be gloriously pillowy, and the perfect complement to our dinner.
Quick and simple focaccia
- 500 g Italian 00 or strong white flour read note above
- 400 mL warm water
- 21 g fresh yeast or 7 g instant yeast
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 125 g old bread dough/starter discard optional, read note above
- olive oil
- flaky sea salt to sprinkle
- In a large bowl, stir all the ingredients to a very soft dough. I like to add a bit of old bread dough from the restaurant for added sourness, but you could leave it out or use a sourdough starter/discard.
- Give the dough a vigorous beating with your hand for 30 seconds. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
- Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over the top of the dough and on top of your workbench, and rub liberally.Flip the dough on to it, using a scraper to gently pull the dough away from the bowl. Pull the dough into a 30cm or so rectangle, fold in by thirds and then a second time. Return to the bowl for 30 minutes.
- Line a baking tray with nonstick paper and rub a little olive oil over it.
- Heat the oven to 225°C/fan 200°C.
- Place the dough at the centre of the prepared tray, and repeat the stretch and fold of the dough. With the tips of your fingers pointing straight down, dimple the dough about a dozen times, then leave for 30 minutes.
- Stretch out the dough again to cover the tray. Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the top. reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/fan 180°C and bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden.
- Allow to cool on a wire-rack.