The Boys Do Bake Off - Series 2, Ep.3 - Bread Week
The origins of this classic Italian bread, like many of the 'classics, will always need to be taken with a pinch of salt (no pun intended). Focaccia is thought to be based on Roman panis focacius, from the latin 'focus' meaning hearth, as this flatbread was baked directly on the hearth.
Although we all think we know what Focaccia is or how it should look/taste, there are many different varieties. Things may get easier if an application for European PGI status is successful, but until then we're sticking with this common variety from Paul Hollywood.
Start by mixing all ingredients and 3/4 of the water in a large bowl. As the dough comes, together gradually add the remaining water. Don't be afraid of how sticky the dough is. This all white, high gluten dough is the reason you'll end up with a wonderfully light and open texture.
Kneading with olive oil will help work with the dough until it's silky smooth. Prove for an hour then knock back and shape. This recipe is for two loaves, but we just used a large baking tray to make one behemoth.
Before you bake it's time to make those all important dimples. Using a well floured finger to poke holes in your dough. Drizzle with olive oil and a little crunchy sea salt and you're ready to go. We also sprinkled our loaf with Thyme (we'd run out of Rosemary), but you can really use your imagination; olives, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes?...