Focaccia has for some reason been my Waterloo. Sometimes tough, other times not risen enough or flavorless; I’ve found it very hard to grapple with. Weeeell, thanks to @jamieoliver, I have succeeded in the seemingly impossible! Lovely, pillowy, flavorful focaccia that was an absolute joy to dunk into olive oil straight out of the oven. I was revelling in it most gloriously.
I actually carpentered this focaccia together from two different Jamie Oliver focaccia recipes. I started one for the ingredients, all was going well, the dough was proving nicely and all of a sudden in the method part (don’t be a Donata, read the WHOLE recipe through BEFORE you start! 🤦🏻♀️), there was talk of firing up the wood fire oven... Jamie, that’s a very specific clientele you’re catering to and alas, I am not one of them. So I checked out the other focaccia recipes on his website and continued with another one that called for a regular mundane oven, which I happen to have.
Oh, and could I resist creating a bit of focaccia art? Heck, no! I had so much fun with it. The second focaccia was made with the scraps left over from my artwork. Get creative!
Makes two half baking sheets (9x13 inches, 22x33 cm) or one whole one
650 g strong bread flour
300 g Italian 00 flour
500 g tepid water
15 g fresh yeast , or 7g sachet of dried yeast
vegetable oil, for greasing
extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt
As garnish you can use sliced onions, zucchini, rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, olives, tomatoes, etc. Or stick to a classic rosemary, olive oil and sea salt combination.
Combine the bread flour, 00 flour, water, yeast and 15g salt in a mixing bowl and knead gently until smooth. This should take approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Cover the mixing bowl with a tea towel and leave to rest, in a warm place, for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. This allows the bread to become lighter and softer in texture.
While the dough is rising, prepare a baking sheet (or 2 half baking sheets) by lightly oiling the base and sides using vegetable oil.
Transfer the dough to the baking tray. Spread out evenly using the palm of your hands and gently expel the gas from the dough (you’ll notice that the dough is airy).
Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the surface of the dough using your fingertips; 'dimple' the dough, ensuring that you don’t press all the way through to the base.
Cover with the tea towel and leave to rest in a warm place for a further 20 to 40 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
If you’re garnishing your focaccia, now it the time to decorate with the sliced veggies, olives etc.
Bake for about 15 minutes at full whack (240°C/475°F/gas 9) until ready. g&b note: this took at least 15 minutes longer with my oven. As soon as the focaccia comes out of the oven, feed it with a good drizzle of your very best extra virgin olive oil and a light scattering of sea salt. You can eat the focaccia as soon as it has cooled slightly.
Recipe by Jamie Oliver