What is oil-free focaccia?
Focaccia is an Italian flat bread that’s traditionally topped with various vegetables and often seeds that are usually used to form a picture on top of the bread. Focaccia also typically features oil both in the baking of the bread and brushed on top but for those of us that avoid oil in our diets for whatever reason this can be a bit of a problem so I decided to find out whether you can create an oil free focaccia and I think it worked pretty well! For me, focaccia is all about the decoration on top anyway, it signifies the beginning of spring and the seasons of growing vegetables in the garden. Its also a great way to use up any spare veggies you have left over.
Do you have a diet restriction?
This recipe is a great choice for people with the following diet restrictions:
- Dairy Free
- Nut Free
- Low Fat
Step 1: Flour and yeast
To start with we need to make our dough. Its really similar to making any other bread dough. Weigh out 500g of strong white bread flour and place in a large bowl. Add an 11g sachet of fast acting yeast along with a pinch of salt and mix well. If you only have traditional yeast, that will work too. Use a 7g packet of traditional yeast and later when it comes to rising and proving, double or even triple the time needed.
Step 2: Form a dough
Add in 350ml of lukewarm water and mix well to form a slightly sticky dough. If there is still flour that isn’t incorporated into your dough then keep adding a small amount of water until it all sticks together. If your dough becomes too wet and sticky add more flour. Don’t forget if you have to add too much more of either your yeast may not be as effective.
Step 3: Knead the dough
Flour a clean work surface and tip your dough out onto the flour. Knead your dough for 5-10 minutes. To knead your dough, use the heels of your palms to push into the dough almost as if you’re trying to push it away from you then fold the dough back over towards you and repeat, turning occasionally. When your oil free focaccia dough can hold itself up when formed into a smooth ball it is ready.
Step 4: Leave to rise
Place in a dish (I like to use whatever tray I’m using for baking) and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour until sufficiently risen. Once your oil free focaccia dough has risen you can pat it down and stretch it out to the size of your baking tray before leaving under the tea towel to prove for 30 minutes.
Step 5: Prepare decorations
During this time we can prepare our decorative vegetables. I think it’s really good to use up whatever you have lying around so for me that was some spring onion, red onion, pepper, tomato, rosemary and I also had a chili but didn’t end up using it, i also added some dried oregano. You really can use anything you like, I had even intended on adding some seeds but completely forgot about them! You can make your design as your preparing them. I used my chopping board to map out my design as it was roughly the same size as my focaccia.
Step 6: Decorate and bake
When your focaccia has finished proving, use your finger to poke holes all over it to give it a traditional focaccia look and then gently press your veg into the top of the dough. I’d really recommend looking on pinterest for some inspiration of tips and tricks to turn your veg into art work. Bake in an oven preheated to 180c for 25-30 minutes until the top has turned golden and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
How to serve focaccia?
Serve with dips, soup or even as part of a charcuterie style board. Check out some of the suggestions below for what to serve with your oil free focaccia. Try it with my hummus!
Love bread of all kinds?
Check out my favourite bread recipe, a gorgeous rosemary loaf recipe.
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