Baking challenge round 8: Focaccia
After a welcome break for school half-term, I’m back and baking with a vengeance!
I made a focaccia last year but my baking skills (which weren’t bad before) have improved so much that I thought I’d give it another go. This recipe (adapted from one by Paul Hollywood of GBBO fame) gave fabulous results – a light, herby, tasty bread that wasn’t oil-sodden like most commercial brands.
The big difference in making focaccia is when you knead the dough you use oil rather than flour. Strange, no? It felt quite weird (but not unpleasant) and you get that luscious extra virgin olive oil taste throughout the bread. So it makes total sense.
Rosemary Focaccia (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)
makes 2 loaves
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1 tbsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 350ml cold water
- rosemary sprigs and sea salt for the top
- extra olive oil to drizzle on top.
– In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt.
– Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil and water.
– Bring together to form a slightly sticky dough, then knead well to make it smooth and silky. If you have a mixer with dough hooks, it would work perfectly.
– Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil on the work surface. Turn out the dough onto the oil and knead well again until the oil is incorporated into the dough.
– Place in a bowl and cover. Leave to double in size.
– Line 2 baking trays with parchment.
– Knock back the dough and cut into two pieces. Press each half into a lined baking tray, making sure it reaches the corners. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.
– Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 7
– Dimple the top of the focaccia with your fingertip and press in sprigs of rosemary and scatter on some sea salt. Drizzle with a little more oil.
– Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Brush with a little more oil to give a lovely sheen and cool on a wire rack.
– Best eaten fresh, but will keep for a couple of days if well wrapped in parchment.