Last Friday night the whole family hung out in the kitchen and cooked together. There was loud music, and singing, little ones playing in dishwater bubbles and helping with the pasta machine. And in among it all we managed to throw together a double batch of focaccia dough and whack it in the fridge. The next morning I turned the oven on, punched out half the dough and set it to rise in the griller section of the stove. By the time the oven was 250 deg the dough was ready for oil and salt and before we knew it we were having hot steamy goodness for breakfast. And because it was so good, we did it all again come Sunday morning. And the best thing about it – the flour, the oil, the salt and the herbs all came from within 100 miles of home.
1/2 tsp caster sugar
2tsp dried yeast
1kg plain flour
2 tsp salt
Mix together well in an upright mixer using a dough hook.
When well combined and with the mixer on low add:
800ml blood temperature water and
2 tblsp olive oil
Transfer onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth. Rub the inside of a large bowl until all covered with olive oil and transfer dough into it. Cover with a large bee eco wrap or similar and leave in a warm drought free place until doubled in size ( approx 1-1.5hr) An alternative to this is you can pop it in the fridge overnight for 8 hours or so. If you plan on doing this alllow at least an hour for the dough to warm up in the morning out of the fridge before moving onto the next step.
Punch down the dough back to its original size and roll out to fit a pan approx 30cm x 40cm with sides of at least 3cm.
Lightly oil the pan and press dough in to fit to the sides.
Turn oven on to heat to 220 deg C and leave wrapped pan and dough nearby to rise again (between 1 and 2 hours).
Add herbs (thyme, rosemary and marjoram are good options), local salt if you have it, and a good dash of olive oil. Poke finger holes in the dough and pop in the oven.
You will be able to smell it when it is almost ready. The whole house will in fact! At this point just keep an eye on it to check if it needs rotating to even the browning (old ovens have a habit of having hot spots that need attending to 🙂 ).
Eat hot, with your fingers, with loved ones. There is not much better.