'Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard."
I had been really curious about making authentic focaccia though I had heard that it was notoriously difficult. I baked "my take" on focaccia which is really normal bread made flat sprinkled with some olive oil. However, I thought it was about time I tackled the famous Paul Hollywood's focaccia.
As I expected, the dough was terribly WET and STICKY... When I looked at Paul Hollywood's recipe and watched last year's GBBO master class, I thought to myself, the dough recipe couldn't be right.
400ml of cold water for 500g of strong flour?? The ratio of flour and water is totally unconventional... What is more, his recipe told me to add 2 sachets of yeast which was twice as much as I use for making a 500g flour loaf. So, I compromised by trying the "wet consistency", but sticking to my instinct and adding only one sachet of yeast. .... However, I followed the rest of his instructions. The dough was an absolute nightmare to work with throughout the process, though I spread plenty of olive oil on the worktop following Mr Hollywood's technique. Perseverance was required .
Then, the dough needed to rise. It took more than 3 hours for the dough to double in size....Phew... but I managed to get to that stage. I cut the sloppy dough in two and placed them on two baking trays and waited another hour to prove the dough. Then, finally I pressed the dough with rosemary to make some "focaccia dimples". I also sprinkled some more olive oil and salt and then my long suffering dough was finally ready to go into the oven.... And here they are. They tasted lovely.
Was it worth such a hassle? ..... Well... probably, YES.
Here is the video of how to make focaccia from GBBO 2011