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FOCACCIA WITH TALEGGIO CHEESE AND SAGE

Focaccia bread Using only a small amount of yeast and letting the bread dough rise slowly in a cool place will make a better tasting bread.

1 portion of focaccia bread dough
filling:
200 - 250 g Taleggio cheese
fresh sage leaves
olive oil
topping:
about 25 ml olive oil
½ tbsp coarsely crushed sea salt
(good-quality black or green olives)

Cut the cheese in thin slices. Prepare, leaven and knead the dough following the instructions given here. Divide the dough in half and roll out the halves into flat, equal-sized rounds or squares.

Place the other part of the dough on a baking sheet covered with lightly oiled parchment paper. Cover it with the cheese slices and the sage leaves. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Then place the second part of the dough on top and seal the edges pinching them firmly together with your fingers, enclosing the cheese filling. Cover the bread with a damp towel and let rise for about 45 minutes or so.

Make several deep indentations in the top of the dough with your fingertips. Push the olives down into the dough, if you are using them. Drizzle some olive oil over the dough, gently smearing it all over the top with your hands. Sprinkle the salt on top.

Bake the bread at 225 °C for about 20 minutes. The cheese inside will melt, creating a flavourful filling together with the sage. Cover the bread loosely with a kitchen towel and let cool for just a short time. Serve the focaccia fairly warm, so that the cheese is still soft and oozy.

Recipe source: adapted from recipes by chef Tina Nordström, SVT Europa/Mat, 2001, and food writer Nigel Slater/Observer Food Monthly, January/2003.


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