So, I have been making my version of focaccia for a while. Everyone who tries this bread has always like it, but you could never call it a true Italian focaccia. It was always a bit to thick and never had the classic white indentations (they were there but never white).
Then recently I picked up a couple of tips, which I have highlighted in the recipe, from an Italian friend and it has taken my focaccia to another level.
500g Strong White Flour
350ml Tepid Water
40ml Olive Oil
5g Doves Farm Quick Yeast
For the top
20ml Olive Oil
Couple of pinches of Flaky Sea Salt
2 sprigs of Rosemary finely chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
1. Place the flour in the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook (It is easier to knead this dough with a mixer as it is quite a wet dough). On one side of the bowl place the yeast and on the other side place the salt. Add the oil and water to the bowl and mix for around 15 minutes until you have a smooth silky dough.
2. Scrape the dough out of the bowl with your hand onto a lightly floured work surface. Such a wet and sticky dough can be hard to handle. I find coating my hands in olive oil before I handle it helps.
3. Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile generously oil a baking tray with olive oil.
4. Fold the rested dough in half a couple of times to add strength to the dough. Do not shape the dough into a ball it should remain relatively flat after folding.
5. Place the dough on the oiled tray, flipping once to make sure the dough is fully coated in oil. Tip 1 - Allow the dough to rise on a flat tray rather than in a bowl. This will make it easier to spread the dough to the edges of the tray later on.
6. Place the dough in on oven with the light on and leave to rise for an hour.
7. Remove the tray from the oven and press down firmly on the dough with the palms of your hands until it spreads to the edges of the tray. Make sure you press rather than stretch the dough to get a good even spread.
8. Return to the oven and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.
9. Mix 20ml of olive oil and 40ml of water in a jug. Remove the tray from the oven and pour your oil and water mixture evenly over the top of your dough.
10. Create multiple indentations in your dough by pressing firmly into the dough with your fingertips. Start at one end of the tray and work your way across. The oil and water you poured on top will pool in the indentations. Sprinkle the rosemary and sea salt across the top of your focaccia. Tip 2 - The water resting in the indentations will keep them white for that classic look.
11. Leave your focaccia on the side while you heat your oven to 240c.
12. Transfer the tray with your focaccia on it to the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200c (I have a fan oven and find that spinning the tray around gives me a more even bake) and bake for another 5 - 10 mins until the focaccia is golden brown.
13. Remove form the oven but leave the focaccia on the tray and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top. Then remove the bread from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
Don't forget, focaccia is best eaten while still warm and crisp.