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Genovese Focaccia | Patisserie Makes Perfect

Traditional Focaccia

Patisserie Make Perfect
4.6 from 5 votes
Course Bread
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • ***Biga***
  • 250 g Type '00' Italian Flour
  • 250 ml Water
  • 1/4 Tsp Fast Action Dried Yeast
  • ***Dough***
  • 300 g Type '00' Italian Flour
  • 200 ml Water
  • 7 g Fast Action Dried Yeast
  • 3 Tbsp Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 9 g Salt
  • ***Topping***
  • 100 ml Water
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Flaked Sea Salt

Instructions
 

  • Begin by mixing the biga. This is just another name for a pre-ferment or a starter, like a poolish. This helps the bread develop a slightly stronger flavour and helps with the texture. Combine the flour, water and yeast in a large bowl and stir until combined.
  • Cover with a layer of cling-film and leave to bubble away somewhere warm, but not too hot for around 12-16 hours.
  • When the Biga has doubled in size and the surface is covered in bubbles it's ready to use.
  • Place the Biga in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the rest of the dough ingredients. Make sure the salt and yeast do not touch as this can stop the yeast from working.
  • Attach the dough hook and mix on a very slow speed to begin with as the ingredients like to jump out of the bowl. When it is all starting to come together increase the speed to 6 if using a kitchenaid or medium if using another kind of mixer.
  • Continue to mix for around 6 minutes or until the dough is elastic and pulling away from the sides of the bowl and sticking to the dough hook.
  • Take another large bowl and oil it lightly with olive oil as this dough is really sticky.
  • Remove the dough from the dough hook and using a dough scraper, scrape the dough into the oiled bowl. Oil a piece of cling-film (just in case, it shouldn't get that big) and cover the bowl. Place it somewhere warm for 60-90 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
  • The dough should be very stretchy and sticky by this point.
  • Prepare a normal baking tray, around 25cm by 35cm 2-3cm deep, by greasing it with a teaspoon of olive oil and then dusting it lightly with a layer of type 00 flour.
  • Take the dough from the bowl using a dough scraper and drop it into the baking tray.
  • Using your fingers stretch the dough until it fills the whole tray.
  • Cover lightly with oiled cling film and leave to rise for another 30mins.
  • Mix together the warm water, oil and salt until it has emulsified.
  • After the bread has proven pour the water and oil mixture gently over the bread so it all stays in the pan.
  • Gently use your fingers to make indentations all over the dough to give it the signature focaccia look, pressing down the bottom of the tray, but not piercing the dough.
  • Leave to prove for another 30 mins.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 200C Fan and place a small bowl of water in the bottom of your oven, something like 100ml of water.
  • When the oven is hot the water will provide some much needed steam.
  • Sprinkle your with some flaky sea salt, how much is ip to you.
  • Bake it in the pre-heated oven for 20-25mins until golden. You don't want it too dark.
  • Also it comes out quite hard, just allow the bread to soften as it cools.
  • Serve in squares and sliced and filled with meat and cheese of cut into fingers and serve with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.