Foolproof Focaccia

Foolproof Focaccia; a deliciously fluffy and simple Italian style bread sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt, perfect for snacking on, dunking in soup or making epic sandwiches!

There aren’t many foods that make me as happy as bread does. It’s both filling AND delicious, and it goes well with pretty much anything.

I’ve been trying to make a loaf or two a week recently on my days off, and I really enjoy the whole process, even if there is a little bit of time to wait for each pillow of dough to bake into a fluffy, crusty loaf.

This foolproof focaccia has been a staple bake, my family adores it, and we love to eat it with soup for dinner! It goes especially well with my Parsnip, Cheddar and Apple Soup.

The best thing about this bread is that there is NO kneading involved! No rolling up your sleeves to pound and stretch away at a ball of stubborn dough for ages, just a few hours of letting it rise, with the occasional dough fold. Perfect lazy baking. Minimal effort for maximum pleasure.

If I can make this loaf, then you can too! The recipe was inspired by a similar one in James Morton’s Brilliant Bread, one which I will endlessly recommend to anyone who wants to try their hand at homemade bread. The book is perfect for beginners or enthusiasts and he goes into great detail about every aspect of the bread making process, from mixing your first white loaf to shaping sticky rye sourdough. Do have a look if you’re interested! 

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This recipe’s sticky dough becomes a gloriously golden fluffy bread, with beautiful irregular holes throughout the inside and a gorgeously soft, chewy and savoury crust. It does take a few hours to make this loaf, but YOU only have to involve yourself in about 10 minutes of this time, the rest is just waiting for the dough to rise! Plus, the wait is well worth it. Homemade bread is the best. You have to make this. Pls.

To whip up this delicious foolproof focaccia, begin by looking out a large mixing bowl.

In this bowl, measure out your flour.

Pour the salt and yeast into separate sides of the bowl and mix them in. Separating them like this prevents the salt from killing the yeast, which can happen if you mix them together, and no one wants dead flat bread!

Add some lukewarm water and olive oil to the bowl and give everything a nice mix until you have a fairly consistent, wet dough.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a damp teatowel and leave it somewhere warm or just at room temperature for 1 hour. I leave mine in the cupboard where our water heater is, so it’s cosy but not too warm.

After 1 hour, the dough should have risen a little bit. At this point, lift off the clingfilm/towel.

Oil your hand, slide it to the bottom of the dough and fold it over itself. Turn the bowl by 90 degrees and repeat, repeat again until you have folded the dough at least 4 times and it appears to hold its own shape a little better.

Return the clingfilm or towel to cover the bowl, and leave it to rest for a further 1 hour.

After this hour, the dough should have doubled in size. This is what happens when the yeast eats up all the sugars in the flour and grows, expelling little bubbles as it goes. Science!

At this stage, repeat the folding process exactly as you did before.

Oil a large baking tray and plop the big bubbly dough out on to it.

Oil your hands again and flatten the dough out completely into a big rough rounded rectangle type shape. Focaccia isn’t known for being pretty!

Leave this flattened dough to rise for a further hour, in the meantime, preheat your oven – 220 degrees for conventional ovens or 200 degrees for fan ovens.

Once this final hour is over, the dough has risen again, and the oven is hot, you can get the dough ready to bake.

Oil your fingers again and use them to push holes all over the dough, this helps ensure an even bake and that classic focaccia appearance! Simply drizzle over a little more olive oil, sprinkle over some salt and any other toppings or herbs you like. (I always use rosemary!)

Bake the dough in the preheated oven either on the oiled baking tray or on a baking stone (if you have one!) for 25-30 minutes until risen and turned a gorgeous golden colour. I usually give mine about 27 minutes, this gives a perfect just-crispy crust.

Allow the focaccia to cool a little on a wire rack before slicing, serving and greedily devouring.

I can’t express enough how much I love this bread, I hope you will too if you get a chance to make it. Again, if you want a great bread baking book, James Morton’s Brilliant Bread is ideal.

What’s your favourite kind of bread?

See you soon!

 

Foolproof Focaccia

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: 1 big focaccia loaf!

Foolproof Focaccia

Foolproof Focaccia; a deliciously fluffy and simple Italian style bread sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt, perfect for snacking on, dunking in soup or making epic sandwiches!

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 2 level tsp salt
  • 1 sachet of dried fast-action yeast (usually about 7g)
  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 45ml olive oil (extra virgin gives the best flavour but it doesn’t matter too much)
  • Optional add-ins and toppings: flaky sea salt, ground black pepper, fresh herbs such as rosemary or basil, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, grated cheese, anything you like really!

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, measure out your flour.
  2. Pour the salt and yeast into separate sides of the bowl and mix them in. Separating them prevents the salt from killing the yeast!
  3. Add the water and olive oil and give everything a nice mix until you have a fairly consistent, wet dough.
  4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a damp teatowel and leave it somewhere warm or just at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. After 1 hour, the dough should have risen a little bit. At this point, lift off the clingfilm/towel.
  6. Oil your hand, slide it to the bottom of the dough and fold it over itself. Turn the bowl by 90 degrees and repeat, repeat again until you have folded the dough at least 4 times and it appears to hold its own shape a little better.
  7. Return the clingfilm or towel to cover the bowl, and leave it to rest for a further 1 hour.
  8. After this hour, the dough should have doubled in size. This is what happens when the yeast eats up all the sugars in the flour and grows, expelling little bubbles as it goes. Science!
  9. At this stage, repeat the folding process as you did before.
  10. Oil a large baking tray and plop the big bubbly dough out on to it.
  11. Oil your hands again and flatten the dough out completely into a big rough rounded rectangle type shape. Focaccia isn’t known for being pretty!
  12. Leave this flattened dough to rise for a further hour, in the meantime, preheat your oven – 220 degrees for conventional ovens or 200 degrees for fan ovens.
  13. Once this final hour is over, the dough has risen again, and the oven is hot, you can get the dough ready to bake.
  14. Oil your fingers again and use them to push holes all over the dough, this helps ensure an even bake and that classic focaccia appearance! Simply drizzle over a little more olive oil, sprinkle over some salt and any other toppings or herbs you like. (I always use rosemary!)
  15. Bake the dough in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until risen and turned a gorgeous golden colour.
  16. Allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing, serving and greedily devouring.
  17. Enjoy!

*As I mentioned before, feel free to top this loaf with any toppings you like!

http://maverickbaking.com/foolproof-focaccia/

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