If you have ever been to a Carluccio's restaurant, you will understand how my love of focaccia. They serve great hunks of the stuff, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, for dunking into their thick, bean-filled soups.
So as I had made a Tuscan soup with beans and pasta last weekend, it seemed only appropriate to make some focaccia to go with it.
Here is a picture of the focaccia with eggs that Tom and I ate the next morning.
I used a standing mixer, because focaccia dough is quite sticky and difficult to work. If you don't have a standing mixer, you may want to use a dough scraper or oil your hands when working the dough, rather than flouring them.
You will need:
500g strong white bread flour
2 tsp dried active yeast
175ml lukewarm water
75ml extra virgin olive oil plus extra to grease and drizzle
75ml white wine
1 tsp dried and chopped oregano plus extra to sprinkle
2 and a half tsp salt
sea salt flakes to sprinkle over
1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. In a separate bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 100ml of the water and leave for 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to dissipate and looks cloudy. Mix to dissolve.
2. Pour the yeasted water into well in the middle of the flour and mix in some of the flour from round the edges to form a smooth paste. Cover the bowl with a tea towel for 20 minutes until the yeast mixture has risen.
3. Pour the wine, oregano and 75ml olive oil into the yeast mixture and mix together until a dough forms. If using a mixer, using the dough hook, put on a medium speed for about 7 minutes. If making by hand, knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put in an oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm, then leave for 1 and a half to 2 hours to rise.
4. When the dough has doubled in size (see below), knock it back by pressing down lightly until most of the air is squeezed out and leave for 10 minutes.
5. "Chafe" the dough for 5 minutes by rotating it while exerting a gentle downward pressure. You should end up with a nice round lump of dough. Roll this out to the desired size and place on an oiled baking tray. Cover in clingfilm and leave for an hour to prove until doubled in size.
6. With floured fingers, make deep dimples in the loaf and sprinkle with oregano and sea salt flakes.
7. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Drizzle with olive oil and serve warm. Mmm.