Garlic scapes are in season for such a tantalisingly fleeting number of weeks that it's worth going all out to celebrate their flavour with an eye-catching centrepiece like this garlic focaccia bread. You can keep things simple, and lay the scapes end to end across the surface of the bread, or really let your creative juices flow, and add colourful vegetables like cherry tomatoes, peppers, and red onions as edible decorations. Do allow plenty of time for your bread dough to prove (at least two hours), as this makes for a deliciously chewy, well-risen bread when baked.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 7 g sachet of dried instant yeast
- 30g extra virgin olive oil
- 350g lukewarm water
- Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or Wight Salt
- Garlic scapes, ends trimmed
- Assortment of vegetables to decorate bread, such as sliced garlic cloves, halved cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced red onions, green/yellow/red peppers, halved red spring onions, parsley, rosemary, halved radishes, and anything else that appeals to you!
- Weigh the flour into a large oiled bowl, and make a well in the centre.
- Add the yeast, olive oil and water into the middle, and combine everything gradually, working from the centre out. Your dough will be quite sticky.
- Knead the dough for up to ten minutes - you may find it easier to tip the dough out onto a floured work-surface and knead it on this.
- Return dough to the bowl, cover with a clean tea-towel, and leave to prove until the dough has doubled in size (2-3 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
- Tip the risen dough into a large, greased baking tray, and gently spread the dough out with the aid of a spatula. Try and keep as much air in the dough as you can, carefully stretching it out to reach the edges of your baking tray.
- Using your fingertips, make small indentations all over the dough, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Cover with the tea-towel again, and leave to prove for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220 C.
- Once risen, lay garlic scapes across the dough, and add any other edible decorations that you like, such as sliced garlic cloves for a twist on traditional garlic bread.
- Bake garlic scape focaccia for 20 minutes until just golden.
- Cool for 5 minutes before slicing into squares to eat.
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