Focaccia made with a wet dough for huge air bubbles
Grind the salt finely and mix with the flour and yeast in a large bowl. Add the water (it should be lukewarm), mix to a dough (it will be very wet and sticky) and beat vigorously by hand for about half a minute. Cover the bowl with something plastic and reasonably airtight (lid/bag/clingfilm) and leave to rest for about half an hour.
Cover the surface of the dough liberally with olive oil (oil a dough scraper and your hand as well), then use the dough scraper to spread the oil all over the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, dragging oil down to completely unstick the dough from the bowl. Now slide one hand right under the middle of the dough (your fingers must come out the other side) and lift the dough. It will stretch down either side of your hand - hold it for as long as you can without the top tearing, then put it down. The dough must always stay the same way up. Turn the bowl by one-sixth and repeat. Do this a further four times (six times in total) – the dough will strengthen noticeably each time and should be really smooth and rounded by the last turn. Cover and leave to rest for half an hour. Repeat this process every half hour, two more times, reducing the added oil each time so that the dough does not end up too greasy.
After the final half hour's rest, carefully release the dough one more time, taking care to burst as few bubbles as possible. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment, lightly oiled. Slide the dough onto this, keeping it the same way up. Gently lift and tease the dough into an even, oval shape, without pressing or over stretching it. Oil all over again, then leave to prove for up to an hour, when it should be really light and bubbly. Pre-heat the oven to 250c. Press finger holes all over, down to the base, no less than 2 inches apart. Scatter over small leaves and springs of rosemary and thyme, and sprinkle on a little flaky salt.
Bake for 7-8 minutes, then open the oven and check for browning. You may want to turn the tray for even colouring. Bake for a further ten minutes – you may want to reduce the heat at some point, anywhere down to 200c, depending on how dark you like your crust. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
«Try to keep the dough the same way up throughout the process, after the initial mixing. You could place a poppy seed on top dead centre as a marker - it should stay there right up until you bake it! »