I love eating bread. I can eat it on its own, with butter, with chocolate spread or in any other way really. While most people were perfecting their sourdoughs over the lockdown period I decided to work on another type of bread, the focaccia. To be honest I managed to make some sourdough before but for some reason it is just not working for me anymore. No matter what I do I end up with a flat rubbery loaf. So since I had quite a bit of time during the lockdown I worked on the focaccia. Now you can make foccaccia quickly but it won’t be the same I’ve noticed, you just don’t get those lovely air bubbles if you hurry it up.
This focaccia is an easy one, you only need flour, yeast, salt, water and some oil and a couple of hours of your time. I usually do this focaccia if I’m having a cleaning day or garden day at home because then I can just work the dough in between my various jobs around the house.
The magic is in the folding of the dough. You want to give it enough time to proof so that you get those lovely air bubbles in the focaccia. I’m sure there are various techniques of how you can do this, I have through a lot of experiments found the perfect one for me. 45minutes to proof and then fold four ways, repeat a few times and you will have a beauriful focaccia dough.
Shall we start then!
270g strong bread flour
200g lukewarm water
3g dried yeast/5g fresh yeast
Start by activating the yeast according to the instructions. I usually use fresh yeast so I would put the yeast in the warm water and mix until dissolved. The water should have a temperature of 38-42 degrees celcius for the yeast to work properly. Too cold and it wont activate, too hot and you will kill the yeast so it’s very important to have that correct temperature. Once the yeast is activated, mix the flour and salt and add to the water mixture. Mix everything well, it is supposed be a sticky dough so don’t worry about that. Take a bowl and pour some olive oil in, about 2-3 table spoons and then add the mixed dough in there. Cover and let rest for 45 minutes. A tip is if you have a microwave to put your bowl of dough in there and close it, the microwave will keep heat in and help the dough rise better especially now that the weather is getting colder and colder. After the first 45 minutes take the bowl out and slowly fold the dough in on each side, so four folds. Repeat this step 3 times, making sure that there is always some oil around the dough. You may need to add more at this time.
Once you are done with those steps the dough should have a nice bouncy texture to it.
Now grab a baking tray and line it with baking paper. Put the dough on the baking tray and cover and let rest for another 30 minutes. Once the dough has risen some more start by slowly flattening it out on the baking tray, use your fingers slowly making sure not to push out too many air bubbles.
Let rest for another 30 minutes. In the meantime put the oven on 220C/200 fan. And also if you want to decorate the focaccia this is the time to do it. I had some nice beetroot that I harvested from my garden this time so thought I’d make some nice flowers out of them.
Once the focaccia has proofed one last time it’s time to put it in the oven. Bake the focaccia for 15-20 minutes . It should have a nice golden colour once finiched.