May 31st, 2011
I started off with the idea of making coca, a popular type of flat bread from the Balearic Islands (similar to a thick pizza dough with a flavoured topping). Then I looked at focaccia, because I wanted to put some ingredients into the dough and discovered that both these styles of flat bread have almost identical dough ingredients dating back to Roman times (possibly even Ancient Greece).
500 g strong white bread flour (and a little extra to stop the dough sticking)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
a small piece of fresh yeast or a 7 g packet of fast acting yeast
325 ml warm water
a teaspoon of salt
Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, make an indentation in the centre and pour a mixture of water, yeast and olive oil into it. Work this into a sticky lump and then turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until it becomes elastic and looses it’s glue like stickiness. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, use that to effortlessly make dough. Form a ball with your dough and put it into a floured bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow the dough to rise for an hour. It should double in size. N.B. If you use fresh yeast it may take longer to rise.
In the meantime, prepare your ingredients. You could use all sorts of things to flavour the bread, including anchovies, onions, peppers, spinach etc.
A 200 g chorizo ring (chopped into small pieces)
10 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
10 fresh rosemary tops (finely chopped)
12 mixed olives (finely chopped)
olive oil for drizzling
salt and pepper
Chop and mix your ingredients together, then (on a floured surface) fold them into the risen dough. The dough should be pressed or rolled to fit a rectangular baking tray (make sure you oil the tray first). Drizzle some olive oil on top of the dough, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, then cover it in cling film and allow it to rise (again) for 30 minutes, while you heat the oven up to its highest setting.
Bake at the high setting for about 10 minutes, before turning the oven down to about 180º C, for a further 10 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Authentic coca can also be made with a sweet topping or fillings.