I wanted to take a break from doing product reviews and get back to my food. Sadly, I screwed this up. It was almost perfect but then I did something stupid and absolutely deserve to get screamed out of Hell’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay.
I adore Gordon Ramsay and love his show Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course. I particularly fell in love with the show and his food as I watched Gordon make his beautiful focaccia and listened him talk about how he used to bake bread for restaurants as he kneaded the dough by hand. I was immediately charm.
When a gift certificate came my way I knew immediately I wanted this cookbook with that recipe so I bought his Cookery Course Cookbook from overseas. The first thing I made? Yup, the focaccia!
Begin with 500 grams of bread flour, which I did not. I used regular flour. Add 1 heaping tbsp coarse semolina, which I did not. I did not have any! Mix in 2 x 7 g sachets of dried yeast and a couple of generous pinches of salt.
Of course this fascinated me. Salt with the yeast? No dissolving the yeast first? What kind of yeast exactly? How much salt is that really?
Mix 320 mL warm water with 50 mL olive oil plus a little extra. OK, what does that mean?!
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and gradually add the liquid. Gordon suggests starting with a fork which is exactly what I did.
I had to add extra warm water for the dough to come together. As usual, it is very dry here. Then I started working the dough with my hands.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth, elastic and springy to touch.
Done! Put into a large floured bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes until doubled in size.
I decided to cover the dough and put it in my microwave with a warm glass of water. Not exactly warm this time of year in my house.
Wow! Now does that look perfect or what?! I was absolutely enchanted with this dough.
Place dough on oiled baking sheet (28 x 20 cm) and sprinkle with a little salt. Grease fingers with olive oil and push dough to edges of tray.
Press toppings into the dough so they poke out a bit from the surface. I just used rosemary and sundried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter with rosemary leaves and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a preheated 200C oven (around 400C) for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through.
Damn it! Mine was just a little too golden and crisp. Focaccia is supposed to be moist and fluffy and as Reg tried to eat a piece with dinner, I cringed at the slow and careful crunching, tearing and chewing sounds as he ate, knowing it was all so very wrong.
I blew it! I got distracted. I forgot my oven sometimes runs hot and in just a few seconds it was too far gone. No way I could use this for sandwiches. Not a total disaster but not the focaccia I envisioned in my head. I hung my head in shame…
But! I did end up redeeming myself! Eventually…