I love Stone Fruits
And I love bread.
So to combine the two was imperative. The in-laws had a plum and peach orchard in the hills up till a few years ago. But because of the National Highway project all over Himachal Pradesh,they had to shift to an apartment complex and let go of the orchard and the house. There was a plum tree I loved ,that had the sweetest, juiciest plums you could ever taste. And it used to flower every alternative year .And in the years the plums were dormant, the peaches and apricots kept me happy. So our summers were sorted . My father in law made whole lot of Plum chutney and jam with the plums ,and also gave away loads…
So juicy plums need to be sweet too. Unlike the imported plums you find , which are a dream to slice but didn’t even loose a single drop of juice. So I needed to try it out with another variety of plums. I finally found these squishy desi plums and I bought then for focaccia.
The other is studded with cherries. Well I ate some , sliced some and placed a few whole. The best part of eating cherries is spitting the stones. I must mention here that I can drop the stones straight into the bin. Unbelievable,right!!!
I admit that I do this disgusting ,most in lady like act of deseeding fruit. So raise your hand if you do it too. And if you’ve not done it yet??? Do it! What are you waiting for? You only have summers to learn to spit the pits…It’s like basketball with your tongue.
Anyway the focaccia.
So,this is half whole wheat and takes exactly an hour from start to just popped into the oven, if you live in a place !Ike Mumbai.
It’s great as a slice on its own, eliminating the need for a preserve or jam. It’s low in fat , as I’ve added only a limited amount of oil and the rest is extra virgin olive oil. So a lot of people pour a whole lot of olive oil on the bread before it bakes, we like it on straight on after it comes out of the oven. There’s something magical about the aroma and the glaze on the bread. Try it any which way you will…since it’s Italian, Olive oil is the order of the day. But if you’re Punjabi (or not) and believe everything is better with butter, I promise I won’t mind.
Just bake it now.
Place the flours , salt, ground Sugar and instant dry yeast into a large bowl and mix with your hands.
Add the vegetable oil and mix. Knead with the warm water. Knead , stretching and bringing back till your elbows and shoulders feel the burn. And you burn maybe two calories.
Alternatively, dump everything in a stand mixer or food processor. Add in the water in a steady stream and allow the dough to knead for at least 7 minutes.
Now if you’re new to yeast or haven’t baked bread in a long while, make sure you proof the yeast before you add it to the flours.
In 1/4 cup warm water add the sugar and yeast and mix. Once it froths in 5 odd minutes pour into the dough and knead. If you’re a seasoned bread baker and can smell the potency of yeast from a mile away, add it straight to your flour.
Shape the dough into a ball and allow it to rest in a oiled bowl ,covered for about 45 minutes or till it doubles.
Deseed the cherries and cut the plums in half in the meanwhile.
After it has doubled, punch it down and cut into two. Roll out two large focaccia on a parchment paper to about a cm thick
Just stud the cut plums face down with a few herbs and some garlic in one and in the second,the deseeded or pitted cherries and Rosemary band some garlic. I had Rainier cherries, so my bread was a bit pale, but the plums took the cake…
Sprinkle about half the seasalt on each and allow the breads to stay a while . After about half an hour, preheat the oven to 190C . Once it’s hot enough, just simple the focaccia in a few places and pop the tray into the oven. The dimples hold the olive oil and the stone fruit juice beautifully.
So once the breads are baked allow the breads to broil on high heat at least two minutes. Turn on the top rod to the max your oven will grill .That allows the excess moisture to evaporate and jammify… If that’s even a word.
Bring it out and pour as much olive oil or butter if you will… And allow it to cool 10-15 minutes.
Slice or tear and enjoy.
Don’t wait for stone fruit only. You can use grapes , strawberries… though cooked strawberry is not my thing. Cherry tomatoes, onions, asparagus , potato slices , zucchini noodles… Whatever you’re stashing in your fridge.
So do try this bread and add some stone fruit jamminess to your table. And ou deserve this gorgeousness on your table.
Let me know what you think of the flavous and do experiment with bread too.
Until the next bite of yummm…
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or atta
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour or maida
- 2 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
- 2 tsp sugar powdered for ease
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Approximately 1 cup or 180 mils of warm water.
- 1 tsp sea salt or a coarse salt
- 1 cup deseeded ripe cherries and plums each
- A few sprigs of herbs of your choice Rosemary ,thyme and basil
- A few cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup or more extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
- Place the flours in a bowl.
- Mix in the sugar salt and instant dry yeast and oil. Or proof the yeast and then add to the flours.
- Add in the water and mix lightly.
- Turn out on a floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes till smooth ,glossy and elastic.
- Else dump everything into a stand mixer or food processor and knead 7 minutes .
- Tuck edges under and shape into a ball. Allow to rest 45 minutes or till it doubles in an oiled bowl.
- Meanwhile set your fruits and also the herbs.
- After the dough has doubled, punch it in. Divide into teo or four parts and roll on parchment paper to 1 inch yhick.
- You may also pat into a large brownie tin or a roasting tin or even a cake tin.
- Your focaccia maybe an inch thick or more... I love my focaccia as a flat bread.
- Stud the fruit and herbs on the flattened dough and cover with another sjeet of parchment paper.
- After half an hour preheat the oven to 190C.
- In High humidity, I sprinkle the sea salt just before baking. As salt will absorb moisture from the air.
- Pop the tray into the oven for 15-18 minutes. Broil 2 minutes.
- Pour as much olive oil or butter as you want to.
- Cool , slice and serve .
- Sea salt may or may not be to your liking. Do sprinkle a little salt over the surface if you skip the sea salt.
- If the fruit are bland sprinkle over a little raw cane sugar or brown sugar or even plain sugar.
- Just one teaspoon.
- Allow the bread to absorb the oil before you cut it.
- Use all the options available to you before you decide your favourite.
- Personally, I love the grapes and rosemary and plums and thyme combination.