Once upon a time you would always see me making Foccica bread, it was all the rage when i was training to become a chef. I think it was my first taste of "Italian style bread". Like anything when you make a lot of one thing it loses it's appeal.
However i have been making loaf after loaf of this soft, chewy, moist bread. This time however i have pushed large, juicy cherries into the surface, sprinkled with my new best friend (rose petal) sugar and baked until golden brown.
1 teaspoon dried yeast
1 Tablespoon Rose petal sugar
3 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
500g pitted cherries or grapes
2 Tablespoon Rose petal sugar, for dusting
To make the Rose petal sugar: Simply put the sugar and rose petals into a food processor and blitz until the petals have blended into the sugar. It should go a lovely speckled pink colour! Set aside. It will store well in a clean glass jar with a lid for a month or two.
To make the bread: In a bowl combine the yeast, sugar, flour and salt.Add the warm water and olive oil. If using an electric mixer use a dough hook and mix together and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough comes together and is smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, try to knead for a good five minutes or until the dough looks smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200C
Generously grease a baking tray or baking dish with olive oil. Tip the dough out and knead lightly, now press and stretch the dough out with your hands, so it roughly fits the tray.
Scatter cherries over the surface of the dough – leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the dough is golden. Scatter over a few more rose petals to finish off.
NB - variations for Xmas sprinkle a little icing sugar mixed with a generous pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg over the bread. Or over Xmas pies.
This dough would work well for breakfast, simply cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Take out in the morning and let come to room temperature.