Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary & Sea Salt Focaccia Bread Recipe

During lockdown, bread baking classes are the ones I miss the most. This focaccia recipe is probably the most popular bread we do. I'd describe it as 'easy but messy', and you need to prepare yourself for a rather oily clean-up job afterwards. But it's totally worth it! I just love seeing people's faces when this loaf comes out of the oven - all golden and puffy and spiky with crisped-up rosemary sprigs......and they can never believe they've actually made it themselves!!

I'm sharing the recipe here and I hope you'll enjoy having a go! It makes one fairly deep, spongy 20cm square loaf (I bake it in a brownie tin) - but if you prefer a thinner, crispier bread, you can make it in a tin up to twice the size (and reduce the cooking time slightly)

Ingredients:

350 grams strong white bread flour

1 tablespoon caster sugar (leave out if you’re not in a rush - this just speeds up the proving time - it doesn't affect the flavour!)

1 sachet dried yeast

1 teaspoon salt

230 ml warm water

40 ml olive oil, (plus plenty of extra olive oil for kneading and drizzling)

Toppings: Extra virgin olive oil, sea salt flakes, fresh rosemary sprigs

Optional: 1 tbs semolina flour for the base of the loaf

Method:

  1. First measure the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into a big mixing bowl. Mix them together well with a fork.
  2. Measure 230ml of warm water in a measuring jug and add the 40ml olive oil.
  3. Pour the water and oil into the flour mixture, stirring with a fork – the yeast should froth. Gradually work all the flour into the liquid until you start to get a ball of sticky dough.
  4. Drizzle olive oil onto the worktop and your hands. Turn the dough out onto the table. With your hands, or a dough scraper, (or in a food processor with a dough hook) knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is smooth, soft and elastic. It will be a really sticky dough – but avoid the temptation to add more flour. Use as much oil as you need to work the dough. (Top tip: To avoid making a sticky oily mess all over the kitchen, you can keep the dough inside the bowl to work it, and coat your hands with oil before touching the dough.)
  5. Scrape the dough into a well oiled 20x20cm baking tin, and use oiled hands to spread it evenly in the tin. leave it to rise in a warm place, covered in cling film or a tea towel for 30-40 minutes. (Top tip: To create an authentic crunchy base on your focaccia, sprinkle 1 tbs semolina flour over the oiled tray before placing your focaccia dough on top)
  6. When the dough has puffed up use oiled fingers to press deep ‘dimples’ into the dough.
  7. Generously drizzle the bread with more olive oil and then sprinkle over the salt flakes and rosemary sprigs.
  8.  Bake at 200 degrees Celsius/Gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes until it is golden brown and sounds hollow if you tap the bottom. Transfer to a cooling rack and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting it.