Roast garlic & tomato Focaccia bread

  • Preparation Time 15 Minutes
  • Proofing Time
  • Cooking Time 35 Minutes

Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free and Egg-free


Focaccia bread is a bit underrated in this country, behind the sourdoughs, artisan and wholemeal bread that are so popular now. It still has its place though among our British loaves.

To me, this crusty, slightly salty Italian bread lends itself so well as a wonderful dipping bread. This makes it great to have with soups and pasta dishes. Meals that contain a fragrant ragu sauce or a lovingly prepared minestrone

Because gluten-free flours standards have come a long way now and producing better results, more bread recipes are becoming easier to achieve with better results. Gluten-free bread flour is not just available in obscure health food shops but now in a wide range of supermarkets. I remember trying to bake this for a coeliac friend a long time ago and it was not a success. I am very happy to say it is not the case now.

I have a few variations of this recipe now, using ingredients such as

  • Olives
  • Feta or parmesan
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Sun-dried peppers
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Pesto

Like a pizza, you can make this to suit you. A great idea for a relaxed meal is to bake a few different types of focaccia bread and serve with a lovely range of vegan cheeses and cold meats, along-side olives and Italian pasta salads.

  • Crispy crust
  • Soft crumb
  • salty
  • Delicious
  • Herby

There is a simplicity about this recipe, no need for electric mixers or arduous kneading. It just needs to be mixed together with a wooden spoon and just an hours proving. You need to activate the yeast at the start, The sugar in the warm water feeds the yeast. Then it just needs 15 minutes tucked away somewhere warm to go crazy and bubble up.

Ingredients

  • 250 g of white or brown gluten-free bread flour { I used Dove Farms
  • 1 Sachet of dried easy bake yeast {7 g}
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 250 ml of warm water, body temperature
  • 2 tsp of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp of xanthan gum
  • 4 tbsp of Extra virgin olive oil, plus a little bit extra for drizzling
  • 6-7 cherry tomatoes
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 4-6 cloves of roast garlic *see notes *
  • Flaked sea salt such as Maldon

*Notes*

  1. I roast a bulb of garlic most weeks mainly because I love the taste. It is delicious in a bechamal sauce. This adds a wonderful depth of flavour and sweetness in recipes such as cauliflower cheese or Mac n cheese. This is a link to COOKIE + kate’s website https://cookieandkate.com/best-roasted-garlic-recipe/
  2. If your yeast does not form a beer-like head after 10 minutes, then ditch it. This could be that your water was too hot.
  3. Once cooled the focaccia can be frozen and refreshed before eating in a warm oven.

Instructions

  1. Roast your garlic beforehand if you do not have any ready, or you can buy a roast garlic puree.
  2. In a jug add the warm water, it should be finger temperature. as in you could place your finger in it and not overly feel it.
  3. Add the granulated sugar to the warm water and stir until it is dissolved and then add the yeast and stir again. Cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  4. Once it has a frothy head like a pint of beer it is ready.
  5. Place the flour, xanthan and salt into a large bowl and form a well in the centre and pour the yeast. mixture in. Using a wooden spoon or spatula mix it together until it forms a thick batter. Add 2-3 tbsp of the olive oil and the garlic in and fold in until thoroughly combined.
  6. Lightly grease a 20cm diameter pan and pour the dough into it, spreading it out with your fingers, spreading it out evenly.
  7. Oil some cling film and place it loosely over the dough. Place in a warm spot, free from any cold drafts for around an hour.
  8. Once the dough has proved and feels light and airy to the touch. Preheat the oven to 200C. Using an oiled finger poke indents into the focaccia. Press some small sprigs of rosemary into the dough and place the cherry tomatoes on top. Drizzle with some oil and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until crisp and golden. It should also make a hollow sound when tapped.
  9. Sprinkle with some sea salt flakes and allow to cool for 10 Minutes.

 If you make this, don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thegfveganalchemist I love seeing your versions of the recipes.  I would love to hear your comments too.

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