Wonderful focaccia. I first tasted this recipe when my friend Amy Robinson, a fabulous cook, made it. She’d developed a recipe of Yotam Ottolengi’s. I’ve modified it only slightly. It takes a good six hours, though isn’t a lot of work. The rising times will be altered by the ambient temperature.
- Strong white bread flour, about 530 g
- Light brown sugar
- Dried yeast
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Garlic and rosemary, or whatever you want to add
Make the starter. Mix 1.5 tsp dried yeast and 420 ml lukewarm water, then add 330 g flour and stir to a porridge-like consistency. You may need to add a little more water or flour. Cover with film and leave for about two hours, until it’s doubled in size.
Mix the risen starter with about 200 g more flour, 1 tbsp light brown sugar, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp salt. Beat it, stretching it as you go, aiming for a billowy, glistening consistency that’s not fit hand-kneading. Again, you might need to add a little more water or flour to get the right consistency.
Brush a bowl generously with oil, put the dough in the bowl, and drizzle oil all over surface. Cover with film and leave for an hour or so, until doubled in size.
Dump the dough onto a large oiled baking tray, and stretch and flatten it into a rectangle (but handling as little as you can get away with. Fold each short edge into centre, adding oil into the folds as you go. Repeat this two or three times over an hour or so. It’s fine to trap pockets of air: don’t flatten anything.
After the final fold, orientate the dough with the seam at the bottom. Flatten it out into a rectangle by pressing with your fingers. Cover it and leave it to rise for an hour but, during that time, press it down with your finger tips and stretch it out. By the end you should have a 2 cm-thick layer with lots of bumps and hills.
Preheat your oven to its hottest setting. Plant the garlic and rosemary (or whatever you want to add) in the dough. Bake the focaccia, reducing temperature to 190ºC (375ºF) after 10 minutes, for perhaps 15 minutes in total — don’t overcook it. As soon as it’s out of the oven, brush the top with oil and sprinkle sea salt on it.