Lockdown has opened ovens like never before and given rise to inner bakers. In this recipe series, we collaborate with chefs from around the globe to bring you bread worth staying home for (if you’re still in lockdown). If you’re not currently in lockdown and COVID-19 is under control in your country, we encourage you to go out and support your local food providers.
THEO RANDALL'S FOCACCIA RECIPE
Theo Randall, head chef and owner of Theo Randall at the InterContinental, takes us back to Italian bread-making basics with this simple yet delicious focaccia recipe.
"We use this recipe in the restaurant, baking it in a convection oven with a little steam. The steam helps the focaccia rise. To get a similar effect at home, when you turn on your oven to preheat it, put a tray of hot water on the bottom. Be sure to use a good sea salt to sprinkle on top as this will make the focaccia really tasty."
900g strong white bread flour
100g semolina, plus extra for the tray
35g fresh yeast
Pinch of caster sugar
30ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
500–550ml lukewarm water
Flaked sea salt
- Mix together the flour and semolina in a large bowl.
- In another bowl mix the yeast with the sugar. Add the salt, olive oil and 500ml of the water and mix together.
- Tip the yeast mixture into the flour and mix—by hand or in a food mixer fitted with the dough hook—to a soft but not sticky dough (you may need to add more water or flour).
- Shape into a ball. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. During this time, oil a baking tray and sprinkle it with semolina.
- Spread out the dough on the prepared tray to a rough rectangular or square shape about 2cm thick. Make indentations all over the dough with your fingertips. Sprinkle olive oil and sea salt over the top and then some chopped rosemary. Leave to prove in a warm place for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Bake the focaccia for about 10 minutes until golden brown; it should sound hollow when tapped on the base. Drizzle more olive oil all over the top, then leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing.