Friday, September 3, 2010

Pickled Plum Focaccia Bread

I have seriously been craving 'Food from Home' lately. I have my first meal back in NZ all planned out - nice grainy bread, hommas, olives, feta, camembert, caper berries, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatos, avocado, smoked salmon.... and Monteiths Summer Ale!
So I decided to make Focaccia bread - with a twist! Instead of using olives, sundried tomatoes or rosemary, I used Japanese pickled plums - umeboshi - and capers. Umeboshi are delicous, they have a sour, saltyness to them which is totally unique, and very Japanesey!

Mixing the umeboshi and capers into the dough was the hardest part - but after much folding (not kneading) they all found their place. And don't they just look beautiful together! A salty, sour union made in heaven.

A friend and I ate the entire loaf in no time - topped with avocado and cottage cheese (the creamyness matched the sour plums perfectly). I'll be making (and devouring) this again for sure!

Pickled Plum Focaccia Bread
3/4 cup of warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
2 Tbsp oil
2 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp capers
5-6 pickled plums (umeboshi)
1/2 Tbsp rock salt

Mix the warm water, sugar and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes (until the yeast is frothy).
Add this to the flour and salt, and mix to a dough. Knead on a floured board until elastic - you may need to add a little more flour until you can knead it without making a mess. 
Oil the outside of the dough a little (to stop it drying out), place in a covered bowl (a teatowel will do), and place in a warm area. Wait until the dough is doubled in size (1-2 hours). 
Lightly knead again. Place capers and plums (patted dry and cut into 1cm pieces) into the center of the dough. Fold dough until the capers and plums are spread throughout. 
Pat into a 3cm thick circle, lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with rock salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 230 degrees C, until the top is lightly browned.

Adapted from the Pizza recipe in the Edmonds cookbook.

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