Yes I know – very sixties and not particularly cool, but making bread is cool, I love it. Today I made Focaccia bread for the first time using a recipe from Flavoured Breads by Linda Collister, a great book. The pumpkin bread is the best recipe I have found and the olive oil bread is now a staple in my house.
Focaccia with Rosemary and Sea Salt
15g of fresh or a 7g sachet of dry yeast*, 280ml water, 6 – 7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus some extra sprigs, approx 500g white bread flour, 2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt, extra flour for dusting, extra oil for greasing the bowl.
To use the dry yeast, add the sachet with the chopped rosemary. Put all the liquid ingredients into the bowl at once and proceed with the recipe.
You will need a roasting or baking tin around 25×35 cm greased.
In a bowl cream the yeast to a smooth liquid with half the water. Add 3 teaspoons of oil and the remaining water. Add the salt, chopped rosemary and half the flour. Beat into the liquid with your hand. When combined, work in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead for 10 minutes until very smooth and silky (or up to 5 minutes at low speed in a mixer fitted with a dough hook). Put in a lightly oiled mixing bowl, turning it over so that it is covered with oil. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise at a cool to normal room temperature until it doubles in size (around 2 hours).
Knock back the dough, turn out, then shape into a rectangle. Press into the base of the tin, pushing into the corners, patting it out to make an even layer. Cover and let rise as before until almost doubled in height, around 45 minutes to an hour.
Flour your fingertips and press into the risen dough to make dimples 1 cm deep. Cover and let rise again until doubled in height about 1 hour. Press small springs of rosemary into the dimples and fill with olive oil. Sprinkle with course sea salt. Bake in a preheated oven at 220C (425F) or Gas 7 for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Try to stop yourself eating the whole loaf at once.