Monday 9 July 2012


I must have put on about 10 kilos watching the Hairy Bikers ‘Bakeation’ a few months ago, purely from watching, not baking.
One of the many things I wanted to try from this series was the focaccia they baked in Venice. And oh-my-god was it worth it (worth it? It was hardly any trouble anyway…). If you’re looking for something quite simple and impressive, look no further.

Focaccia. Mmmmmmm.

500g bread flour – I used the Soubry ‘pain’ flour
1 sachet of yeast
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
300ml of hand-hot warm water

In addition:
Another 3 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea salt
Some fresh rosemary

To make the dough, mix the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the olive oil and the warm water. Bring all this together with a spoon.
Flour your work top and tip the dough out. Knead this for about five minutes – the dough is quite liquid, and felt like silk.
When your five minutes are up, oil the bowl and pop the dough back into it. Cover it with clingfilm and leave it somewhere warm for an hour to grow.
Dough, kneaded but unrisen

After an hour, tip it out onto the countertop again and knock the air out of it.
Dough, risen. 

I oiled a shallow dish, about 30x25x7 at this stage and put the dough in, pushing it into the corners. Cover it again with cling film and leave for about 30 mins.

Heat your oven to 220°.
Using your fingers, pop the dough all over to release some of the air. The holes didn’t ‘keep’ in mine, so I ended up with a choppy looking dough rather than the kind that you’d see in magazines. Still…
Dribble the extra olive oil over the dough and scatter with the salt, pepper and rosemary leaves. Push some more rosemary stalks into it.
Raw focaccia, left to rise
Cook in the hot oven for about 15-20 mins, until golden.

Update: May 2013 - I made Paul Hollywood's focaccia from his 'how to bake' book last week, and it was really, really good! There was a lot of oil in his recipe, and I didn't add al of it, and it was still a bit too oily for my liking. BUT despite this, it was incredibly tasty and flavoursome. I'd marginally prefer the PH one to the HB one (sorry Hairy Bikers...).

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