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)
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
- First measure the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into a big mixing bowl. Mix them together well with a fork.
- Measure 230ml of warm water in a measuring jug and add the 40ml olive oil.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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)
- When the dough has puffed up use oiled fingers to press deep ‘dimples’ into the dough.
- Generously drizzle the bread with more olive oil and then sprinkle over the salt flakes and rosemary sprigs.
- 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.