FRIIIIEEEENNNNDDDDSSSS! How it be, how’s it going, what’s poppin’, wegwEnnnn?! Praying for your health and happiness hermanos.
Let me tell y’all about my new favourite, completely original (leul) hobby. I’VE STARTED BAKING BREAD GUYS! Yahz *insert flame emoji, and strange raised hands emoji, maybe even a red dancing lady emoji who no one uses anymore for some reason*. Like every Tom, Dick, and Ola, I too have joined the cult of IG bakers who steals the last bags of flour in the Tescbury’s, and for the past four-ish weeks, have been enthusiastically learning about starters, the supernatural powers of yeast, and how to make light, fluffy dough.
I used to think that I was a better cook than a baker. That’s actually an understatement, sorry. I thought I was trash at baking. Up until my acute banana cake obsession, I hadn’t really baked very much, and what I had baked resembled Year 7 food tech style slime-bakes. Baking is a science, and that really stressed me out. You can’t sprinkle a little bit o’ anything without risking an uncooked sponge, or a rock hard dough.
Every mistake has consequences. It’s like a bad trim/eyebrow hacking. A good one shines, a bad one… just hide mehn. However, once I grasped a few simple techniques, and I promise it all boils down to that, I was golden (LOOOOOOOREMEMBERISTARTEDTHISYESTERDAYANDIMTALKINGLIKEIMPAULHOLLYWOODOOOOLLLLL). I can’t tell you how much I needed bread in my life. Beyond the absolute dream moment of eating warm, sarft, comforting bread fresh out of the oven, the focus and excitement it brings me when i’m making it is so balancing. It’s my own mindfulness exercise.
Whiiiiiich brings us to this sexAy recipe for Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia. I don’t have many luxuries at the moment, you know, being a house girl who should really be wearing a bonnet to hide this mad hatter look. SO this focaccia felt like the bite i needed to feel more Sunday-brunch-in-*inserthipsterextortionatelypricedpoachedeggsspothere*.
You’ll need to make a starter first, which will give your dough a nice flavour kick, and beautiful texture you get in a focaccia. Then, you’ll add your risen starter to the remaining ingredients, before flicking your wrist into a few rounds of dough folding. Honestly, it’s so easAy.
I’ve got the recipe below, but if you follow me on IG at @jalvez_ you’ll find a video in my highlights, which will walk you through the simple steps to make it. Don’t be put off by how many frames there are – it’s not as long as it seems :).
TIP: Whenever you’re folding your dough, please use wet hands and wet hands only. Otherwise, no gewd. Much sticky.
Recipe for Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia
100g. Strong Bread Flour
100g. Warm water
5g. Dried Active Yeast
400g Strong Bread Flour
20g. Olive oil
Rosemary (a bunch is fine)
Rock Sea Salt
1 Clove of garlic, sliced
Risen Starter (the baby you’ll make lovingly from scratch)
Splash of olive oil
- In a small bowl, combine your starter ingredients. You don’t need go to ham with the mixing, just enough to bring it all together. Then cover, and leave for an hour, preferably in a warm place. The boiler babysat mine.
- Once your starter is ready, (he has risen) you’ll need to grab a large bowl, and combine the remaining flour, water, olive oil and salt from your list of dough ingredients. Then, mix in your starter until it forms a dough, and then cover for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, the folding begins! Pull the corners of your dough into the centre. Let the dough rest for another 5 minutes, then repeat the folds, before leaving again for another 5 minutes (if you have IG, ahbeg watch the video, it’s so much easier to understand what i’m talking about, hehe).
- Once those 5 mins are up, you’ll need to fold him again, BUT this time you’ll lift the dough out of the bowl very gently, and then put him back in. SO, you’ll lift it by its sides with two hands, put it back down, then rotate the bowl 90 degrees, lift it, but it back, and do that repeatedly until you’ve lifted him 4 times. Then he’ll rest again for 5, before you life and put it down in the same way you did before, 4 times. THEN you’ll leave him for an hour.
- 15 mins before the hour is up, preheat your oven to about 200C and slap some oven oil on a flat baking tray.
- Then, shift your dough onto the baking tray. You can now stretch out the sides so that it takes a Focaccia looking form.
- Sprinkle your rosemary, garlic, salt on top of your dough, before using your fingers to poke holes into it, as well as sink the ingredients a little into the dough. Then, splash your olive oil on top.
- Slide it into the the lowest oven… shelf(?) for 20 minutes, and VOILA, a beautifully fragrant focaccia!