Following on from my successful attempt at stromboli, my attentions now turn to foccacia, as once I master this, the “stro-caccia” then becomes a possibility This recipe is really Paul Hollywood’s.
I don’t think I’m brave enough to do ciabatta just yet.
The procedure for this was cobbled together from watching Paul hollywood’s master class on the 2011 great British bake off and the recipe on he GBBO book.
The challenge with focaccia was the dough handling. Is a very wet dough and you cant knead it like you’d knead a traditional loaf. You can’t add flour to the mix either to stop it from sticking as you’ll change the flour content and the focaccia will come out like a normal white loaf. Liberal use of olive oil was what I found to be the key. It takes a bit of practise as half the challenge is knowing when the dough feels right.
The only thing I’d say is that if you can, watch the masterclass that Paul Hollywood gives on the tv programme. Thats how the dough will look like and the demonstration that meister hollywood gives shows you the consistency of the dough, and you can compare that to what your dough looks and feels lilke. The book is slightly misleading. Maybe they had to make the dough firmer so that they could give you a better idea of what you’re trying to do with he stretch and fold technique, but the focaccia dough does not look anything like what the photos in the GBBO book imply. I’m pretty sure I’m not getting it wrong because I’ve done this a few times, and it’s never looked like that… Ever.
That having been said, if you follow those instructions to the letter, without straying off the path you should get a good focaccia loaf, with bubbles and irregular structure on the inside, nice and fluffy. Whilst my focaccia can still be greatly improved upon, the control I bought from the Italian deli for comparison did prove that my efforts weren’t too far off the mark. Not bad for my first few goes.
What this does pave the way for, however is a Stro-caccia.. A Stromboli made with focaccia bread.
500g of strong white bread flour will set you back about 75p.
The rest of the ingredients and the energy to do the baking probably comes in at a further 50p.
At £1.25, this isn’t perhaps the cheapest foccacia ever, but.. I know exactly what’s gone into it, with the added benefit that I can make it exactly the way I like it.