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Recipe: Blueberry focaccia

Blueberry focaccia rs

If you’ve had a manic week at work, unwind and make this rustic, artisan looking loaf, kneading warm bread dough will soon get rid of those feelings of stress, there’s only one rising, so it’s much quicker than most breads and you’ll fill the house with an amazing smell while it bakes. Then sit back and tuck into bread fresh from the oven with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate….perfection!

Makes 1 large loaf
Serves 6-8
Prep: 30 minutes
Rising: 45-60 minutes
Cook: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients


1 orange, rind only, pared away in strips with a vegetable peeler
1 lemon, rind only, pared away in strips with a vegetable peeler
75g (3oz) caster sugar
500g (1lb 2oz) strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
40g (11/2oz) butter, diced
3 teaspoons fast action dried yeast
1 egg, beaten
250-300ml (8-10 fl oz) warm milk and water mixed
150g (5oz) blueberries
Extra flour and semolina (optional) for shaping

Method

  • Finely chop the fruit rinds and mix with half the sugar.
  • Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and butter to a large bowl and rub in the butter with fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the chopped fruit rinds and sugar mix then the yeast.
  • Add the egg to the flour then gradually mix in enough warm milk and water to mix the flour to a soft dough, you may have a little liquid left. Knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Sprinkle the work surface with extra flour and semolina, if using, then gradually knead in the blueberries and remaining sugar, twisting and pulling the bread until they have all been mixed in and trying not to overwork so that the blueberries don’t get too mashed up. Pull into an oval shaped loaf about 23cm (9 inches) long and put on to a floured baking sheet. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for about 45-60 minutes until the dough is well risen. While the bread rises, preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7.
  • Remove the clingfilm, sprinkle the bread with a little extra flour then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and the base of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack and serve while still warm.

Cook’s tips

If you have a fan oven, don’t forget to reduce the temp down by 10-20oC or the bread will brown too quickly. Check on the bread during baking and turn it round if needed so that it browns evenly and if you think it is browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil.

When mixing the milk and water, add hot water to cold milk from the fridge then test with your little finger, the liquid should feel just warm. Too hot and the yeast will be killed, too cold and it will take ages to begin to work.

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