What is it about bread? And by that I mean the fresh, home-made, just-out-of-the oven variety, not the industrially made sort that lasts for a week. If you are a regular reader of the blog you might have noticed that I’ve ‘discovered’ bread in the last few months, or more exactly, that I can make good bread.
Bread is really easy to make. Don’t scoff, it really is. Honestly. Sure it takes a little while, but whilst it’s rising you can get on with the rest of your life – it’s not needy baking, it doesn’t care if you let it rise whilst you go out. I used to think this was utter nonsense, but I honestly can’t tell you just how easy it is.
One of the easiest of all of them is focaccia. It looks great, tastes even better and is a great place to start if you’ve never made bread before. I bought James Morton’s (yes, him of Argyle knit ware and Great British Bake Off fame) book, Brilliant Bread, a little a while ago and if you have any interest in baking bread yourself I would urge you to get yourself a copy. Not only does it look damn good he’s written it in a fantastic way – it’s one of the most accessible baking books I’ve seen in a long time. My copy is already dusted in flour and post-its. This could easily turn into a gushing narrative about how much I like this book, so I’ll stop now, but leave you with this: buy this book and I would place a bet that you’ll be baking fresh bread quicker and better than ever before.
My first foray into the book was to make a rosemary focaccia. It was to go with a beetroot risotto (which is possibly one of the vilest looking, but best tasting, dishes I’ve made this year) for a rare Saturday dinner in front of the tv. I made it in a few stages whilst getting on with my afternoon, and in total I probably spent a total of about forty in the kitchen and part of that was making coffee. When stretched out it covered the entire tray (about the size of your average cooling rack) and between my flatmates and I it was gone by Sunday lunchtime. I’d call it a success.
Given that my only change to the recipe was scattering rosemary on it I’d be in dangerous copyright territory giving the recipe here (and I’m away with work, so can’t easily check the book’s copyright). Instead, if you want to make this focaccia – and why wouldn’t you? – then you’ll find the recipe in Brilliant Bread or here on James’ blog.