Monday, 28 May 2012

Focaccia - the holier the better!

For some reason when the sun comes out all I want to do is drink wine and eat bread outside which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past few days. I’m a huge bread fan but I’m not really into breads stuffed with ‘wacky’ things, instead I prefer plain breads with different textures or rustic sourdoughs that hurt your teath when you bite into them. These are the breads that are often considered harder to make but I think they’re the ones which you can play around with more and are actually way more impressive than your normal dough recipe with some nuts thrown in!

I’m hoping you’re all going to try this and realise how easy it is to make great bread. There’s a few pointers to making great focaccia:

- It is messy, whoever said good bread shouldn’t stick to your hands was lying.
- The timings at home are not exact, each bread will rise diferently on any given day. As a general rule - longer proving is better. As soon as you get general timings down then you can be as flexible as you like
- More water means a holier bread
- It will rise, don’t worry


14g Dried Yeast (2 sachets)
500g Strong White Flour
Olive Oil
Maldon Salt


- Put 100g of the flour into a bowl with 100 ml water and the yeast
- Mix together to form a batter and leave for 20 minutes (this is called a sponge)
- Add the rest of the flour along with the olive oil and 10g salt diluted in water
- Keep adding water and mixing the dough until it resembles a cake mixture, at this point if you’re brave you can keep adding water, as long as it still holds you’ll end up with a lovely hole filled crunchy bread.
- Tip your mixture out onto the surface and kneed by continually scraping the mixture off the table and kneeding.
- After 10 minutes of kneedin the mixture will be smoother and glossy
- Scrape the mixture off the table and into an oil covered square bowl
- Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for an hour (ish)
- Transfer onto an oil covered baking sheet and push your finger tips into the mixture all over (This creates the holey surface and knocks the mixture back)
- Leave for a final 30 minutes to prove and put your oven on to heat up to 220 degrees
- Drizzle with more olive oil and salt before putting in the oven
- Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden and risen