In honour of Great British Bake Off starting again this year, *cheers heard in the background*, I have decided to make homemade focaccia bread from the 2011 winner Jo Wheatley‘s book of Home Baking.
I hadn’t made focaccia bread before now. Jo did say that the dough would be the consistency of wallpaper paste but I was surprised about how wet the dough really was. Don’t worry though because when you have kneaded the dough it should be smooth and elastic, and not too wet and sticky. Jo has made a rosemary focaccia bread, but I made a herby homemade focaccia bread with mixed dried herbs.
Homemade Focaccia Bread
300g strong wholemeal bread flour (Jo used strong white bread flour) plus extra for kneading
7g fast-action dried yeast
10g rock sea salt
4-5 tbsp olive oil for kneading and proving
5 tbsp dried mixed herbs
250ml lukewarm water
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and 6g of the salt. You can use a mixer with dough hooks, or you can use a wooden spoon to do the mixing in this recipe. Gradually add the water a third at a time; mixing well at each addition. The dough will be really wet, but don’t worry!
2. Spread 3 tbsp of oil onto a work-surface. Then turn out the dough onto the work-surface and knead thoroughly for five to ten minutes. If you are kneading with a mixer this should take around 3 minutes. Add 3 tbsp of herbs in whilst kneading.
3. Put the kneaded dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and prove in a warm space for an hour until doubled in size.
4. Tip dough out onto a clean work surface, and knead for 30 seconds to knock back the dough.
5. Use your hands to press the dough into a Swiss roll tin; or a pizza tin. Press to around the thickness of around a centimetre. Using your fingers make slight indentations into the dough. Cover with some oiled cling film, and set aside and leave to prove for another hour.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Bake for 30 minutes, then sprinkle over the remaining salt and also the remaining 2 tbsp of herbs. Bake for another 5 minutes.
7. Cool the bread for about 10 minutes; then transfer to a wire rack.
Best served warm with some butter, this homemade focaccia bread will keep for about four days. This is super good so no-one would blame you if you wanted to eat it all at once 🙂