We are totally hooked on the show The Great British Bake Off. Completely sucked in. Not only do you get great tips on baking, history of the baked goods, and great ideas, but it is such a refreshing competition. Stateside, a lot of the food competitions are high pressure, overly dramatic, and people like Gordon Ramsey pound the table and scream a lot. This one, every one is friendly.
Of course my husband and I are adding to our list of things we want to try to bake. Yesterday I tried Paul Hollywood’s Focaccia Bread. I find people’s approaches to known breads fascinating. Paul’s approach seems more modern while Dan Leader’s approach is more old world. Dan Leader’s recipe takes two days vs a few hours with Paul Hollywood’s recipe.
In a mixing bowl add 500 grams flour, two teaspoons salt, 12g yeast, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Now it’s been mentioned on the show that the salt shouldn’t touch the yeast. Well at least until you mix it all together. Most recipes don’t mention keeping them separate. So I’m interested in researching this more. However, the end result didn’t seem that different from other recipes. It may be a preference more than anything else.
Add 300ml of lukewarm water.
Mix well then add, slowly, an additional 100ml of lukewarm water. This is a very wet and sticky dough. When this is fully incorporated knead by hand in the bowl for 5 minutes.
I found this part hard given my height to the counter and it’s not easy for me to do that with my shoulder issues but do the best you can. Then you have to stretch the dough and fold it over itself, for another five minutes, turning the bowl as you do this. One good trick that was given on the show was to oil the surface you will knead on and oil your hands. Doing this rather than using flour will keep the dough moist. Turn out the dough onto the oiled surface.
Knead for a further 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Spray the bowl with oil and place the dough into the bowl. Spray cling film with oil and cover the bowl. Prove until the dough doubles in size. This took about an hour or so.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough and press the pieces into rectangles and dimple the surface. Cover with oiled cling film. Be careful not to have the cling film pin down the dough. It needs room to rise.
Prove for another hour. Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/Gas 7. Once it is ready to bake drizzle the surface with olive oil. I put a little to much on. Sprinkle sea salt over it.
We usually put in ice cubes in a hot cast iron skillet but we thought we’d try water. As I had two loaves to bake I did ice with one and water with the other. Because this only bakes for 20-25 minutes I didn’t notice a huge difference. We did on my husband’s boule but that bakes for an hour and there was a difference there. At any rate bake the focaccia until golden brown.
Much, much different from the bread you get in restaurants. Doing research online, I wonder what is actually made in the restaurants, because what I made matched the images rather than the other stuff.
It was very crispy on the crust and soft in the middle. Perfect for dipping in olive oil. This does make a lot so thank goodness for the freezer!
Now to decide what to bake next!
Nice work. The bread looks great and I bet it tasted delicious. It sure does in the pictures. I have watched a few episodes of the show also and found it interesting.
Thank you! There are definitely some pastries I want to try to make. Maybe over the holidays. 😊
Yummy! And I love the Bake Off too!
The salt (and 2 teaspoons is quite a lot) can kill off the yeast, whereas sugar feeds it. Just don’t quote me on that. I’m no expert. In fact, I think I’ve only ever used yeast for hot cross buns several times.
Yes it can kill the yeast, especially if you just mix the two but most recipes, given there is a lot of flour, water, and sometimes sugar it’s not usually an issue. But he makes a point on the show to keep them separate. Having done both I haven’t seen a difference. Just found it curious.
I keep hearing about that show! It must be good! wow the bread looks so yummy
Thank you! You can find it on the PBS channel. And online?
ok I will have to see! sounds interesting
The bread looks so good! I have watched an episode or two but kind of forgot about it! I’ve got to get back on the wagon! I all but gave up on the cooking channels when it seemed there were no shows about cooking for awhile~! And WAY too many cupcakes!! haha! Have a great evening!
Oh cupcakes were and probably still such a trend. Up there with kale. I like them but there’s more options out there!
LOVE the BBaking show so much! And love focaccia too, thanks for the recipe and reminder to make it; it’s awesome with lentil soup!
I would be fabulous with soup! 😊
That’s a lovely looking focaccia! I too use oil to knead, gives a really nice finish to whatever kind of bread you’re making and also easier to clean up!
And it’s nice on the skin! Win-win!
Lovely looking bread Virginia. I wish I could get my at together enough to make some.
Given some of the complicated recipes you do, this will be a piece of cake!
I’m with you. LOVE that show. It amazes me how people can create such beautiful dishes under that stress. I’d be gone after the first round, no doubt about it. Your focaccia looks wonderful. You know, you can slice it to make fantastic panini, too. 🙂
Ooh that would be good. I’d be surprised if you went out the first round. 😊
I’m going to have to check out this show. I love learning about food! 5 minutes of kneading sounds doable after the 10 minutes required of sourdough. Bleh! Happy Christmas baking!
I often use our dough hook to knead the bread so I was out of practice! Happy Christmas baking to you too! 🙂