Paul Hollywood’s Focaccia Bread

Last week when shopping at Morrisons we saw a pack of fresh yeast. This is surprisingly difficult to come by nowadays, which is frankly ridiculous considering how popular baking is at the moment. So I hastily grabbed a packet and have since been planning what to bake with it.

First on the list was Paul Hollywood’s Foccaccia Bread from the ‘Great British Bake Off’ book that accompanied the TV series of the same name. It looked so great when they made it on the TV that I couldn’t wait to make it at home.

The sign of good focaccia bread is the presence of air bubbles in the bread. This is caused by the water in the dough – if you don’t put enough in, you won’t get the air bubbles, so it’s very important.

The bread is soft in the middle with a lovely, crunchy crust. Delicious. We had some amazing focaccia in Rome and dare I say it, this loaf matches up. Will be having some with a platter or mozzarella and italian meats later!

Recipe from Great British Bake Off book – also on BBC website.

Makes 2 large loaves.

Ingredients

  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 sachets dried easy blend yeast OR 18g fresh 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. (If using fresh yeast, dissolve it in the water before adding to the 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 minutes.
  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 hour.
  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 warm.