Kenny Rankin is Fifteen's Head Baker with over 20 years' experience. He's responsible for providing the flagship restaurant in London with the best standard of Italian-style breads. Alongside his baking expertise, Kenny is responsible for training and mentoring the chef apprentices in the skill of artisan bakery.
"Fifteen is great because everything is cooked with integrity – you can always trace where the ingredients are from and that’s important to me. Also there's so much you can do with the apprentices, you can teach them the basics but there's also the Swiss and French style bakery that’s invaluable learning. Baking is such a dying art and is one of the oldest and most important skills we can teach the apprentices."
Combine the bread flour, 00 flour, water, yeast and 15g salt in a mixing bowl and knead gently until smooth. This should take approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Cover the mixing bowl with a tea towel and leave to rest, in a warm place, for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. This allows the bread to become lighter and softer in texture.
While the dough is rising, prepare a baking tray by lightly oiling the base and sides using vegetable oil. Now’s a good time to make sure your wood fire oven is pre-lit and ready for your bread.
Transfer the dough to the baking tray. Spread out evenly using the palm of your hands and gently expel the gas from the dough (you’ll notice that the dough is airy).
Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the surface of the dough using your fingertips; 'dimple' the dough ensuring that you don’t press all the way through to the base.
Cover with the tea towel and leave to rest in a warm place for a further 20 to 40 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Place the baking tray in the wood-fired oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden; this will vary depending on temperature so it's best to keep a close eye on the bread for your first attempt.
Just prior to the bread coming out of the wood-fired oven, mix together 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk lightly until it becomes an opaque emulsion. Once removed, brush the bread with the emulsion (I use a pastry brush), which makes the bread surface moist.
To finish, stud the bread with fresh sprigs of rosemary and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Serve warm with a small bowl of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.