Focaccia

The focaccia, now proud of place as my header, is made by yours truly. And it’s heart-shaped! I made it a while ago and I’ve got to make it again soon.

Bread is sometimes a messy process but it’s a lot of fun. And this bread is dairy free, with loads of olive oil in it, there’s no need to add butter. Best served slightly warm, with a side of olives, cheese and a glass of wine.

This recipe is from Paul Holywood’s How to Bake. Paul’s background is in baking and he’s got some great recipes up his sleeve. Look him up if you haven’t already heard of him. Plus, he’s been one of the judges on the Great British Bake Off, with tv chef and baking legend Mary Berry. I friggin’ love them on that show. And now, back to focaccia!

Focaccia

500g strong white flour

350ml water

10g salt

10g instant yeast

140ml olive oil, plus 20-30ml extra for kneading and to serve

Dried Oregano, to finish

Sea salt, to sprinkle on top

First, oil a big plastic tub, very big lunch box or bowl. This is where the dough will rise.

In another large bowl, add the flour, add the salt to one side of the bowl and add the yeast to the other. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add about 40ml oil and about two-thirds of the water. Using your fingers, mix and turn the flour around n the bowl, incorporating all the salt and yeast. You might need to add more water, a little at a time, to get a very soft ball of dough. It’ll be wetter than a standard bread dough, but don’t panic, that’s how it’s supposed to be!

Now time to knead the dough. Add some oil to the work top and start kneading for 7-10 minutes, or until a lovely smooth skin forms. Please don’t add more flour, if needs be, add a little oil instead. Adding more flour will change the structure of the bread.

Put the dough in the oiled tub/lunchbox/bowl and leave to prove for about an hour, or until it’s doubled in size. Take two tins, line them with baking paper and oil. The take the dough from the tub/lunchbox/bowl and simply divided into two. Keep as much of the air in it as possible, this creates the lovely texture of the focaccia. Leave these to prove again, ideally in clean plastic bags or creatively wrapped clingfilm for another hour. It should be springy and it’s then ready to go into the oven.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C, or 200C fan. When the dough has finished proving the second time, poke you fingers into the dough, creating deep holes without tearing or breaking the dough. Lovingly add some more oil, add the salt and dried oregano, then bake for about 15-20 minutes. The focaccia should sound hollow and then they’re done. Allow to cool on a rack and add even more olive oil. Because it’s warm, it’ll soak up all the oil. Yum.

xo

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