Focaccia

I asked for focaccia recipes on Twitter and goodness, did I get a few. As a newbie I went with the easiest one (albeit cut down as I’m not making restaurant-sized quantities!).

The dough should be made in advance and proved in the fridge for at least 24 hours, preferably longer.

Makes: 2 loaves

 

Ingredients

  • 850g strong white bread flour (plus extra for stretching)
  • 650g tepid tap water
  • 2 large pinches of sea salt, plus extra for garnish
  • 7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary leaves
  • Olives, stoned, and finely sliced (optional)

Kit

  • One large mixing bowl
  • Clingfilm
  • Two baking trays
  • Baking/parchment paper
  • Cooling rack

Steps

  1. Mix the flour, water, salt, and yeast in a large bowl until fully combined. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes in a warm, draught-free place.
  2. Flour your hands, and stretch/fold the dough vigourously for 3-5 minutes. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover, and leave in the same warm, draught-free place for 10 minutes.
  3. Repeat Step 2 two more times.
  4. Line both trays with baking paper. Take 1/2 the dough and patter it out with your floured fingers to fill one prepared tray. Take the rest of the dough and do the same on the 2nd prepared tray. Drizzle some olive oil over each, and poke in some fresh rosemary all over. If using olives, slice them very finely and sprinkle over the top. Leave the trays of dough in the fridge for at least 24 hours, and anywhere up to 3 days to prove.
  5. Once the dough has cold-risen, preheat your oven to 220 C (200 C fan-assisted). Sprinkle some flaked sea salt over the top of each loaf and bake for 20 minutes or so, until the bread is golden brown. Cool until safe to handle, then move both loaves to a cooling rack.

    As with most breads, this will keep quite excellently in the freezer.

Cold-Proving Bread
Letting bread dough slowly rise in a cool environment allows for really tasty, complex flavours to develop. I got a bit impatient and took the trays out of the fridge after almost 24 hours and let them sit in the conservatory which was quite warm, before putting them in the oven to bake.

You could make this dough and leave in the fridge, baking one loaf after 1 day and baking the other a few days later.

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