A lovely Italian focaccia loaf made from scratch and topped with slices of courgette and fresh mint. It's perfect for a family gathering or picnic. Use plenty of olive oil when greasing the baking tray - focaccia needs it in order to get crunchy.
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25g fresh yeast or 7g dried active yeast
250ml warm water, divided
2 teaspoons sugar
250g bread flour
250g semolina flour
50ml extra virgin olive oil
3 courgettes, sliced into thin rounds
1 tablespoons salt, or to taste
2 or 3 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or as needed for greasing
Dissolve the yeast with half of the warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy.
Place bread flour and semolina in a big bowl; add oil. Pour in yeast and start mixing, adding the remaining water to make a sticky dough. Add the salt and mix again.
Transfer onto a floured surface; knead the dough energetically, stretching and folding for about 10 minutes or until smooth and no longer sticky. Lightly oil a bowl, add the dough, turn to coat in oil and cover with a clean, damp drying cloth. Place in a cold oven with the light on (or in any other warm place), and let rise for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add courgettes, season with salt and toss to coat with oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until just softened. Remove from heat, add the chopped mint and set aside.
Generously grease a 40cm round baking tin with olive oil. Place the dough in the tin; turn to coat in oil. Then stretch the dough with your hands, a bit at the time, to cover the whole base of the tin. Sprinkle with salt and arrange the cooked courgette slices on top. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or longer in a warm place.
Preheat the oven to 240 C / Gas 9.
Bake the focaccia in the bottom rack of the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Towards the end, lift the focaccia with a spatula to make sure it's turning golden; then transfer on the middle rack and finish cooking. Serve warm or at room temperature.