Focaccia for newbies

Ever want to bake bread but don’t think you can do it? It is 2023. Be fearless. Baking bread cannot be easier than this. And you won’t knead (need) to work those muscles. Got flour? Got yeast? Let’s go!

Ingredients (makes 2 focaccias**)

1 kg flour (regular or best: baker’s flour)

1 tbsp dry yeast

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

800ml slightly warm water

Optional: polenta or coarse semolina

Topping

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt flakes

Your choice of herbs & spices*

Method

  1. Place everything in a large mixing bowl. Use a spatula to mix enough to combine. Dough will appear rough – it is OK***
  2. Place the dough in a large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave it in the fridge overnight (If baking right away, skip to #4)
  3. Next day, dough would have doubled in size
  4. Divide dough and spread the dough gently into 2 lined baking trays (if using polenta/semolina, spread them on the tray before placing dough on)
  5. Proof dough in oven at 40c steam (or use oven’s auto proof function) for 30 mins
  6. Spread 2 tbsp oil across the top of the dough and using all your fingers, make those signature focaccia indents. Add toppings & finish with salt flakes
  7. Baking options: (1) Bake in a preheated oven at 190c for about 30 mins. OR, (2) auto focaccia or flatbread functions. OR, (3) Pizza function (aka bottom heat with fan) and place tray on the second last bottom most rack level – 210c for about 15 mins.

Notes

**Keep the other unbaked focaccia in the fridge for up to 3 days

*My favourite part of baking focaccia is experimenting with toppings and using whatever I have in the fridge. So be fearless, be creative. Or, let the kids decide. Some popular varieties:

Rosemary, Rosemary & sundried tomatoes, Rosemary & cherry tomatoes sliced in half, Rosemary, olives and jalapeno, assorted chopped veggies & Persian fetta, bacon: imagine a blank canvas and ‘paint’ with your toppings..

***When you are ready to ‘up’ your game: leave the bowl of dough out at room temperature for an hour. Then pick a quarter of the side, pull dough up (stretch) and fold towards the middle. Do it for the other sides as well. Then, put the bowl into the fridge, covered. Working the gluten will give a better rise

Read to go into the oven
Caramelised Onion & Rosemary