Week forty nine and I think this has been the most technical of my bakes to date and the one that has taken most of the day as it’s bread and needed rising time. Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible has the nicest photo of hers and all through my bake, I just hoped that it turned out at least resembling hers!
The beginning of the recipe asks you to add every ingredient for the dough into a bowl and mix either by hand or with a mixer with dough hooks. I had never used my dough hooks before and looked forward to playing with them. They made short work of the ingredients and no sooner had I started, than I had a dough bowl ready to start working on. I tipped it out onto my floured surface and set to work, it’s very therapeutic to work dough! Although my method is probably more old school as I was taught in my Home Economics lessons rather than the Paul Hollywood swing the dough around and whack it down method! Once kneaded, I put it in a clean oiled bowl and covered it with clingfilm. I left it for an hour and while it was “proving” I set about making the onion and balsamic topping. Mary asks you to add a teaspoon of olive oil to a pan, cut 2 onions and fry them for several minutes, then add thr lid and turn down the heat and leave for 20 minutes. The next step was to add some balsamic vinegar and sugar and thyme , fry again briskly and then season and allow to cool. Mary asks you to return to your dough and “knock it back” for about five minutes, roll it out and pop it on a baking sheet with the topping on it, place it in a bag and allow to proof again for half an hour…zzzzzz. Finally I could put it in the oven for about 25 minutes.
The final result, no soggy bottom! But the onion is lightly singed around the edges, but on the whole I am happy with it. The only problem is that it is HUGE!! Hubby and I can’t eat it all so we are going to cut it in half and take some to the parents!
I loved watching the Great British Bake Off this week with breads and maybe that’s what inspired me to do the Focaccia Bread. I must say, I was impressed with Frances’ matchbox and her bread sticks.