Combine the bread and cake flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add lukewarm water. Start by mixing it in with cooking chopsticks or something, then switch to folding the dough with your hands.
When the dough is more or less mixed, add the olive oil. Knead to incorporate the flour in the bowl.
Take the dough out onto a work surface and knead and stretch for about 10 minutes.
Ideally you want the dough to form a thin, translucent film when stretched (as they say often in cookbooks), but you don't have to knead it that long really.
Round the dough off into a ball with a smooth, taut surface.
This is how the dough looks before the 1st rising. (Put the dough on the lid of a large storage container, and invert the container over the dough. Leave it to rise.)
After about an hour. (The measuring cup full of hot water is there to maintain the temperature.)
Today I just divided the dough into 4 pieces. Usually I divide it into 5 to 6 pieces, which may be easier to bake.
Round off each piece of dough into a ball with a smooth surface.
This dough doesn't need to be rested much. Once each piece is formed into a smooth ball, go to the next step.
Flour your hands before pressing each dough ball flat. Use the weight of the dough itself to help stretch it out. Make the edges a bit thicker than the middle. This is a better way to stretch the dough than rolling it out with a rolling pin--the dough is puffier this way.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and put the dough on top. Go on to the 2nd rising. Put the whole baking tray in a plastic bag or something to proof. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 230°C. If you have an electric oven, set it to the highest setting.
The dough will become puffy in about 30 minutes. Top with olive oil and coarse rock salt and so on. Add rosemary or other herbs to taste.
It depends on your oven, but basically just bake at 230°C for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, and it's done.
The surface is soft too, not hard. For a cinnamon flavored version, top with butter before baking, and sprinkle with granulated sugar and cinnamon powder.
Spread on pizza sauce, top with cheese, and you have a simple pizza.
Here are some plain round buns made with the same dough.
Variation: Salad pizza! I put an arugula and cured ham salad on top of a baked focaccia, with mayonnaise diluted with yogurt.
Variation: Light pizza! No tomato sauce, topped with bacon and sliced bell peppers, mozzarella cheese and olive oil.
Variation: Dessert pizza! Sprinkle cinnamon powder on sliced banana and bake. Add lots of chocolate sauce to finish.
Once the foccacia have cooled, wrap up any that you won't eat right away and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Mist with water and warm in a toaster oven before eating.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to eat a really soft and tender focaccia rather than the usual type, so I adjusted a recipe I had for pizza crust.
Bake it at a high temperature for a short time. In my gas oven, it's browned in about 2 minutes, so I take it out then. It's very soft. If you use a bread machine for all the steps up to Step 8, it's ultra-easy.