Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Oh my god, I made focaccia!

Focaccia with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and home-made red pepper hummus
As you can see, I had a pretty exciting weekend. My work mates gave me the "Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets" book for Christmas, and I often browse it for weekend baking ideas. It's a beautiful book with step by step photo illustrations for technical challenges, which helps to minimise disasters! I decided to make this focaccia simply to go with the hummus, which I made to finish off a jar of tahini that wasn't going to last much longer. Quite a lot of effort to go to, but oh my goodness, it was worth it! Soft, springy, chewy and flavoursome, this was the best focaccia I had ever tasted! My only downfall was to use greaseproof paper without greasing it first - which had the unfortunate consequence of gluing the paper to the underside of the loaf. Luckily R was there to calm me down and help me carefully cut the paper off (which took off a bit of the lovely crust too, but oh well, I think we salvaged 95% of it). Next time I will just liberally oil my two baking trays and bake the loaves directly on them. Also, my olive, rosemary and sea salt topping was a total success, but the sun-dried tomatoes burnt to a crisp, so stay clear of them.

I have taken the recipe here word for word from the BBC Food website.


500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 sachets dried easy blend yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml/14fl oz cold water
olive oil, for drizzling
fine sea salt

Preparation method

1. Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml/10½fl oz of the water
into a large bowl. Gently stir with your hand or a wooden spoon to
form a dough then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes,
gradually adding the remaining water.

2. Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre,
turn the bowl 80 degrees and repeat the process for about five

3. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for
five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to
rise until doubled in size.

4. Line two large baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Tip the dough
out of the bowl and divide into two portions. Flatten each portion onto
a baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one

Ready for the oven
5. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Drizzle the loaves with oil,
sprinkle with fine sea salt then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
When cooked, drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve hot or

Fresh from the oven

Cut to lunch-box size for super delicious sandwiches

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