Delia

Mini Focaccia Bread with Blue Cheese, Garlic and Thyme Topping

Focaccia is an Italian flat bread made with olive oil. The flavour of the oil is important, so it's advisable to use a good, strong, fruity virgin olive oil for this. What's good about focaccia is that it gives you scope to invent all kinds of interesting toppings.


Makes 4 mini focaccia

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection.

Mini Focaccia Bread with Blue Cheese, Garlic and Thyme Topping
Ingredients
For the focaccia dough:
 12 oz (350 g) plain white flour
 ½ teaspoon salt
 2 teaspoons easy-blend yeast
 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the blue cheese, garlic and thyme topping:
 6 oz (175 g) Gorgonzola cheese
 4 large cloves garlic, cut lengthways into thin matchstick strips
 4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
 freshly milled black pepper

Method

Begin by sifting the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast and mix that in. Next pour in 7½ fl oz (210 ml) warm water along with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil and mix everything to a dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean (if necessary you can add a few more drops of water). Now turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes (alternatively you can use an electric mixer with a dough hook and process for 5 minutes).

When the dough feels very bouncy and elastic, return it to the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 1½ hours or more depending on the heat in the kitchen: if there's no suitable warm place you can sit the bowl over a saucepan of warm water – but not over direct heat). After that, turn the dough out on to the work surface and punch the air out by kneading it again for 2-3 minutes. Now it's ready for topping.

Divide the dough into four, place the pieces on an oiled baking-sheet and pull and push each one into shape. Pat out each piece into a sort of oblong, rounded at the ends and measuring 4 x 3 inches (10 x 7.5 cm). Cover the surface of each one with the thyme leaves and a fairly liberal grinding of black pepper. Next remove the rind from the Gorgonzola and cut the cheese into dice. Sprinkle these over the surface of the four pieces of dough along with the strips of garlic. Now drizzle the olive oil over the surface of the toppings, cover with a damp cloth and leave to puff up again for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C). When the 30 minutes are up, bake the breads in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they are golden round the edges and look well cooked in the centre. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.

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