The problem for me with baking an a weekday is lack of time. With a full time job, and the need to cook something indigenous for the family, baking generally takes a back seat with no more time or energy left. Especially for yeast breads, where you need to knead and knead and then wait till the dough doubles, shape it and again wait for the second rise, it is almost impossible for me to bake on weekday, unless I’m planning to stay awake for most of the night!
Since weekends are busier with a lot more things to do and places to go and other hobbies to spend time for, it would make me wait for that weekend over which I’m home for most part of the day, with no guests and with enough time and energy and many more conditions to be met before I actually bake! For people like me, there are these no-knead bread recipes that work equally weel, with less than half the time and almost no energy required.
Got this from Champa’s Versatile Kitchen (again! Well, I can’t still take risk otherwise!). Made this one evening after work and it required almost no special preparation or lengthy process. A simple ‘Measure and mix the ingredients - wait for the rise - bake’ formula really helps me try out more of baking often, without having to plan and wait for a suitable day to bake...
Focaccia had been something I wanted to try for a long time and I was happy I tried it. Especially since it uses more of whole wheat flour, this big bread was polished off quickly, without any guilt. I’m so happy that even the in-laws have started loving Italian flavors (first pastas and now this!) and that makes it easy for me!!
Thank you Champa for the nice easy-breezy recipe...
Preparation time : 20 min + rising time + 10 minutes
Baking time : 20 min
Makes : ~15-20
All purpose flour - 1 ½ cups
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups - 2 Tbsp
Vital Wheat Gluten - 2 Tbsp (Not in original recipe, I added)
Warm water - 1 ½ cups
Olive oil - 3 Tbsp
Salt - 1 ½ tsp
Sugar - ½ tsp (I added this; not in original recipe)
Instant yeast - 2 ¼ tsp
Chili flakes - 1 Tbsp - I used red chili powder since I didn’t have enough
Fresh ground pepper - ¼ tsp
Olive oil - 1-2 Tbsp
Mixed Italian herbs - 1 Tbsp
Crushed chilli flakes - 1 - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Black pepper powder - to taste
• Grease a 9x13 pan or equivalent with some olive oil and set aside. I used a 10” round pan
• Mix APF, WWF and gluten if using and keep aside
• In a large bowl, add warm water and sugar and mix
• Add in the yeast and let it proof for 5 minutes. If the yeast does not create bubbles, then it is bad
• Once the yeast proofs, add olive oil, chili flakes/powder, pepper powder and salt
• Mix in the flours with a wooden spoon; mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps of flour
• This is a sticky dough, but since you don’t have to knead, it does not matter.
• Grease you hands with some oil and pat the dough on to the prepared pan evenly, into about an inch thickness
• Keep it covered in a warm place to double.
• In about an hour, it doubles in volume
• Pre heat the oven to 190 deg C or 375 F
• By then, heat the olive oil for topping slightly and add the herbs, salt and clili flakes and/or pepper powder
• Make dimples in the risen dough with your index finger and drizzle the olive oil mixture all over
• Bake in the pre heated oven for about 35 minutes - mine took about 32 minutes, till, as Champa says, a golden crust is formed
• Take it out of the oven and in about 2-3 min, take it out of the pan, and cool over a wire mesh
• Slice when warm - mine crumbled a bit when I waited for too long...
• Serve warm as is or with a bowl of soup later
• I felt the water/liquid can be increased a bit, when using WWF. May be a couple of TBSP more.
• Champa says it crumbles when sliced hot, but mine was the other way round - it crumbled after it was cool, where as when still warm I got better pieces