My friend Jackie from Casa Azul makes a great Focaccia which she always tells me is easy to do. So I asked for a masterclass from her when she visited me recently. Jackie favours the ready made bread flour recipe with easy bake yeast. I want to go 'old school' with strong white bread flour and bakers yeast.
Using the Paul Hollywood Focaccia recipe we started the challenge. Now I may favour the old school method, but kneading for 20 mins is not for me. Not when I have a fancy new machine with fully functioning dough hook.
In the bowl both the mixtures needed longer than we though. The old school method produced more elasticity, so much so that it reminded me of our building project (when will it ever end). Can you spot the difference?
But when it came to taking off the cling film, we had two very different results.
You know that weird thing they do in the bake off, you know, they sit infront of the over watching it cook their showstopper. Well we did that, then we got bored. We forgot the oven was fan assisted, yeh, we overcooked the new school ones a bit! (new school on the left and old school on the right).
Cutting through the old school had a firmer crust. The old school had a more traditional texture, more holes running throughout the bread. The new school suffered from being on the top shelf of the oven and cooking too quickly and was more cakey in texture.
Now the taste test.....new school - cakey texture, slightly sweet (on fishing the packet out the bin we read that the ready mix bread has sugar in it). It was light, salty, sweet and tasty.
Old school - much denser, a strong bready texture and you could smell the yeast coming through.
So which is best...? Not sure....the old school has a better texture, the new school has a good flavour.
Both tasty, both salty, both smothered in olive oil....need I say more!