This recipe for focaccia is published with huge thanks to Holly Bell (finalist in the 2011 Great British Bake Off). I had the privilege to attend two of Holly’s classes; baking & decorating cupcakes and then her bread course. The recipe below is the one she taught us on the bread course, and is now my ‘go to’ recipe for focaccia bread that I bake. Thanks Holly xxx
250g Allinson strong white bread flour
1 sachet (7g) dried, easy blend yeast
15ml Ol Extra Virgin Olive oil
200ml Cold water
1. Put all the dough ingredients into a bowl and, using one of your hands, bring all the ingredients together, almost with a stirring action.
2. Still using your hand, stretch the dough from the side of the bowl, and press into the centre of the mix. Give the bowl a 1/4 turn. Your mix will be very sticky, but this is normal.
3. Repeat this stretching, pressing and turning for about 5 minutes.
4. Liberally oil your working surface with olive oil and then tip out your dough onto the surface.
5. Using a dough scraper in one hand to help, use your other hand to continue to knead the dough for 5 more minutes. DO NOT ADD MORE FLOUR.
6. Place your dough back into your bowl, and cover with cling film. Leave to prove until doubled in size.
7. Grease a baking sheet well with oil.
8. Tip your proven dough onto an oiled working surface and knead again for 5 minutes.
9. Add any flavourings at this point (torn basil leaves, fresh rosemary, garlic, chopped chilli, caramelised onions).
10. Put the dough onto your baking sheet and flatten down.
13. Drizzle your dough with a generous amount of olive oil, then using your fingers, press deep indentations over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with sea salt.
15. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle it with more olive oil.
16. This bread can be enjoyed either hot or cold, with a tomato & mozzarella salad or simply dipped into olive oil.
17. The crumb should be irregular.