Sunday, May 20, 2012

Homemade Focaccia

What I discovered last night: focaccia is amazing! It's so good, I could have just sat there and ate it all. I wasn't sure at first if this bread was going to be a success; I tried a recipe last week that wasn't very good, it was just very dry and tasteless. This time, however, I found a blog that had made a recipe from the Great British Bakeoff, which I have seen an episode of and is full of amazing recipes. The instructions were really detailed and there were pictures - the finished bread looked amazing so it was worth a try. Like ciabatta, this dough is really wet and nothing at all like normal bread dough. The finished produce is very soft and airy and really, really yummy. This recipe made enough for four of us to snack on while we waited for dinner


Focaccia
from The Great British Bakeoff

250 grams strong flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
200 mL cold water
More olive oil for kneading
Rosemary and salt for the top

The first strange thing about this recipe that I noticed was that you use cold water. However, I went with it and it worked just fine. So take a large mixing bowl and measure out the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil. Then pour in the water and begin mixing. First mix it with a large spoon, until it is all combined. It will be a very wet, sticky mixture and this point and the next step is to knead it with your hands, which is going to be messy.

Unlike when you knead other breads, don't add any flour to your hands or to the work surface. This bread is all about the oil. So to begin with, coat your hands in olive oil and being to knead the bread in the bowl. It won't really be like normal kneading, more like lifting and folding and squishing. Keep going for about 5 minutes and then scrape the mixture of off your hands as well as you can.

After you have washed all off the mixture off of your hands, take a large chopping board and smear a good coating of olive oil over it. Coat your hands in oil again and then tip the dough onto the board. By this stage it will be holding its shape together somewhat, and you'll be amazed at how it transforms as soon as it hits the oil coated board. The oil somehow holds it together and you will be able to knead it (in a sense). So again use your hands to lift it and fold it and squish it, adding more oil to your hands if it starts to get sticky. After 5 minutes you can put the ball of dough back in the bowl to rise.

As usual, I placed my dough in the warm oven to rise, but it doesn't matter where you put it really, so long as you leave it until it is about double in size. Then you can prepare a tray by lining it with non-stick baking paper and pour the dough into the prepared tray. Coat your hands with olive oil again and flatten the dough, pressing it into the corners of the tray. Rub oil across the top of the entire loaf. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary, then use your finger-tips to press dimples across the dough.


Now you can leave the bread to rise again, just until whenever you are ready to bake it. I left mine on the bench for at least half an hour, during which time I heated the oven to 200 degrees celsius. The bread took 20 minutes to be done, but I actually made a double recipe so perhaps it will only take 15 minutes. The top will be golden when the bread is done. Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool a bit before you try and remove it from the baking paper. Then serve it while it's still warm.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, I LOVE focaccia bread. This looks heavenly. I just might have to have it today. Thanks for linking up to Things That Make You Say Mmmmm!

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  2. YUM! I, too, love focaccia bread. I would love for you to come by and link up this project at the Creative Corner Hop. The linky party starts on Monday and stays open all week.

    Sandy
    Cherished Handmade Treasures

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