12 Mar Focaccia
12 March 2023
PREP TIME: 10 mins - Rest time 1 - 2 hours Cook Time: 15 - 20 mins - Serves: 4 - 6
Focaccia is a Ligurian dish.
It really is bread making 101. It is not difficult to make - you just need to be patient with the processes of resting the dough and allowing it to prove properly before cooking it.
For a thin crispy focaccia use a larger baking dish, a smaller dish will give you a fluffier, smaller, fuller focaccia.
When mixing the dough - try and keep one hand clean - holding a scraper in your dominant hand to turn the dough, while you knead with your other hand.
Focaccia is delicious with finely sliced prosciutto or mortadella, leaves of peppery rocket and slices of cooked peppers. Confit tomatoes and their oil are delicious on focaccia too...
Drizzle with the very best extra virgin olive oil that you can get your hands on.
500 g 00 or plain unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting the bench.
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast (check it has not expired!)
3 teaspoons sea salt
Approx 100ml extra virgin olive oil
350 - 400 ml tepid water
A pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon fine kosher salt or fine sea salt
2 Large mixing bowls
Mixing jug or bowl for the yeast
Mixing fork or wooden spoon
Clean Tea Towel
Pour 120ml of the measured water into the small mixing bowl and pour in the yeast. Stir well to dissolve the yeast adding a pinch of sugar to activate it - after 5 minutes or so it will start to froth.
While waiting on the yeast mixture pour most of the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
2. Prepare the dough
Pour the frothing water into the well, stirring with a wooden spoon or fork.
Pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and enough of the remaining water to allow you to combine the ingredients.
Work the mixture with your hands and turn it onto a lightly floured surface and make a soft dough adding a little more flour or water as necessary.
knead for 10 - 15 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. If it is too sticky add a little flour, too dry, add a little more water.
Pour a tablespoon of oil into a large, clean mixing bowl. Add the dough and roll the dough around in the oil so it is coated with the oil. This will stop a crust forming on the dough while it rests.
3. Rest the dough
Dust a clean tea towel lightly with flour and cover the bowl .
Rest for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
While the dough is resting, prepare the baking tin by coating it with olive oil.
4. Punch and Form the Dough
Tip the dough from the bowl, onto a lightly floured bench top.
Punch the dough down and knead it again briefly.
Place it into the baking tin, pushing it with your hands to flatten and fill the tin. The dough should be at least 1cm thick.
Brush the surface generously with more olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Make indentations all over the surface with your fingers.
Cover with the tea towel.
Let the dough rise again for about another 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 240 C
Place the baking tin on the top shelf of the hot oven and bake for about 12 minutes.
Remove it from the oven, brush with more oil and turn it around in the oven.
Continue cooking for another 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.
7. To Serve
Drizzle olive oil over the warm focaccia, garnish with fresh rosemary and sprinkle with a little more coarse salt.
Serve warm, cut into slices or squares.
Eat either plain or with additions of sliced mortadella, prosciutto, confit tomatoes, rocket, capsicum - whatever you choose.
Recipe adapted by Elizabeth Peddey from recipe by Claudia Roden,
June 4, 2017
March 27, 2020
June 28, 2020
May 19, 2021