Bring summer into your kitchen with your very own home-made summer garden focaccia bread – a fun way to bake your way to a beautiful and delicious dinner!
One of the side effects of the pandemic-induced lockdown is that a lot of people have started cooking at home. Cooking and baking are not just a life skill and a means of providing sustenance but can also be therapeutic and help relieve stress. The process of baking bread is simple, requires just a few basic ingredients and some patience. A freshly-baked loaf of bread, warm from the oven can be both a thing of pride and a source of comfort.
Our own home saw a sudden surge in bread-baking during the lockdown. We baked our way through pizzas made from scratch, dinner rolls, ‘zopf’ bread, ‘pavs’, etc. Baking bread is simple enough to allow kids to actively participate in the kneading and shaping of the bread. In fact, we see bread-baking as a family activity, which comes with the bonus of getting dinner on the table, too!
With summer on the horizon, why not attempt to bake a garden right in your kitchen?
The ‘garden bread’ has become quite a trend in recent times. A basic focaccia bread, dressed up with vegetables that make it look like a garden in bloom – the bread looks beautiful once it is done, and it is really quite simple to make.
Here are a few tips to get started with making your very own focaccia garden:
Use a basic bread dough recipe (see below) to create the base for the bread
Keep your vegetables prepped and ready: for the green foliage, you can use green herbs such as parsley, coriander, basil or asparagus. For the flowers, use a range of coloured vegetables such as coloured bell peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, olives, etc.
Start by placing the stems of the flowers, then move on to the leaves and flowers. You can also add blades of grass, use vegetables to depict the sun, etc. – the sky is the limit!
How to make a summer garden focaccia bread
For the bread
- 500 grams all-purpose flour (Weissmehl) or bread flour (Zopfmehl)
- 7 grams active dry yeast ( ‘trockene-hefe’ sold in Swiss supermarkets) or 20 grams fresh yeast
- 1.5 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup water (warm)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 75 grams of butter, melted
- Olive oil (to brush over the bread)
Vegetables for the topping
- Bell peppers
- Red onion
- Cherry tomatoes
- Mix together the milk and the warm water in a large mixing bowl. The mixture should be slightly warm to the touch. Add the active dry yeast, along with the sugar. Whisk gently and let it sit for 8-10 minutes until the yeast is activated and the mixture is frothy.
- Add the butter, flour and salt and mix well to combine (you can use either a stand mixer or your hands to knead the dough). Knead well until the dough is soft and pliable. Shape the dough into a ball.
- Grease a mixing bowl with olive oil and let the dough ball sit in the mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise to at least double its size (this will take around 90 minutes).
- Once the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and flatten it out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 190 C.
- Smoothen out the dough, creating a flat surface for you to add the vegetable toppings. Create your ‘vegetable garden’ using the prepared vegetables.
- Brush some olive oil over the top of the bread and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until the top is slightly golden.
Disclaimer: Opinions and methods expressed are solely of the writer. Namaste Switzerland does not undertake any obligation or liability which may arise from the content.