Alex Gooch's White Spelt Foccacia
When I asked Alex what it takes to make a winner he replied, “great bread takes patience and instinct and I love making bread making, it brings you into the moment completely and you just can’t beat that crackle as you squeeze a stone baked ciabatta!”
Note that this is not a recipe for the novice, it is for those who already have a feel for baking a focaccia and so some of the ingredients, although listed, are left for your interpretation.
- 500g white Spelt flour OR if unavailable use strong white flour (such as Stoate's, Prior's or Redbournbury)
- 350g water
- 10g sea salt
- 9g fresh yeast (5g quick dried yeast)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pecorino cheese
- Black pepper
- Halen Mon sea salt flakes
- In a bowl, mix the first 4 ingredients together. Mix for 3 minutes until ingredients are totally combined.
- Scrape the contents into a rectangular tub (about 6" x 8") which has half a centimetre of olive oil in the bottom. Make sure the tub has room for the dough to expand to at least 3 times its size, place the lid on the tub. Leave dough for 1.5 hours.
- Then cover the top of the dough with a generous layer of pecorino and then a generous layer of Marjoram. Hold the far corners of the dough, lift and stretch it out and then bring it back towards you to the middle of the dough, repeat this process. So now the dough should be rolled up so to speak. Sprinkle pecorino and majoram on the top of the dough again, which should have now relaxed back to fill the tub*. Put the lid on and leave for 30 minutes.
- Turn out onto an oiled (8" x 8") baking tray that has room left to stretch the dough out in every direction.
- In a pestle and mortar or liquidiser, blend 3 cloves of garlic with 50 ml of olive oil, rub this gently over the top of the focaccia. Then plunge all 10 fingers into the dough right down to the tray and stretch the dough out to the corners to fill the baking tray. Do this until the whole flat bread is covered in holes from your fingers.
- Leave for 15 minutes and then bake for 20-25 minutes at 230 centigrade or until golden brown.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then liberally sprinkle with extra olive oil, Halen Mon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
* You can do this recipe with just the herbs and it still works a treat.