I have always loved focaccia bread, but never dreamed I would be capable of making bread as good as this. Until recently I always had a lot of problems making bread. I think my problem was just not using the right yeast and not kneading the bread enough. This recipe has been taken from the silver fox himself, Mr. Paul Hollywood. Master baker and judge of my current favourite TV show The Great British Bake Off! If you would like to see the man himself making it, with his glamorous assistant Mary Berry then you can watch this video on YouTube.
500g flour (I use the baksul one with bread on the front)
2 x 8g packets of yeast
2 teaspoons of salt
400ml of warm water
2 tablespoons of olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
10-15 cherry tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of thyme
Mix the flour, salt, and yeast together in a bowl. Add the water in stages and mix thoroughly with the flour. The dough may seem as though it’s very wet but that’s how it should be. Once all the water is in, you can add the olive oil. Knead the dough for about five minutes until it has become stretchy and elastic. You can either do this on an oiled board or in your hands. Do not add any more flour to the mix. I prefer to knead it in my hands, pulling and stretching it until is is about right. Put the dough in an oiled container, drizzle with olive oil, cover with cling-film, and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
After the dough has risen it should look like this
Knock the dough back down and move the dough to a second oiled container and leave to rise once again for about 30 minutes. Make the dimples in the bread by using your finger or knuckle.
Place your topping in the dimples if you’re using one. Drizzle with more olive oil, dust with salt, and bake in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the dough has baked through. You may wish to turn the dough around halfway through to produce a more even colour.
To make the topping, cut you garlic into slices and halve the cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and herbs then drizzle with the oil and balsamic vinegar. Then roast in the oven for 10 minutes. If you have some fresh herbs I would recommend using them, sadly mine all died thanks to the cold winter air.
When the bread is done. Sprinkle with more salt and oil and enjoy. Voilà easy and amazing home-made focaccia bread!