Focaccia is a great bread to start with if you have never made bread before. It is light and proves faster than other forms of bread. It is great with antipasti or dipped in some seriously good olive oil. It is one of the most satisfying breads to take out of the oven at the end of a bake.
In ancient Rome, Panis Focacius was a flat bread baked on the hearth. The word is derived from the Latin focus meaning “hearth, place for baking.”
It is often made with the leftover pizza balls. I love the artisan way of making focaccia that I learnt from my master baker. I turn the dough in oil as it proves. I don’t slosh it on at the end of the prove before the oven. The bread soaks up the oil during the prove process. This makes sure the bread has an even spread of oil, throughout the loaf and it doesn’t just end up with a greasy fried crust.
500g Strong Bread Flour or 00 pizza flour (You could double this recipe and split half off to make pizza with too.)
8-10g Sea Salt
A good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large plastic Tupperware tub of a huge mixing bowl and tea towel
1 square cake tin / roasting tin / pyrex dish (whatever you have available to bake your bread in)
Put flour, water, yeast and salt in the mixer. Knead with the dough hook. This one is an easy bread to knead by hand if you do not have a mixer. 10 minutes in the mixer should do it. Add one tablespoon of oil to the mix while kneading. Make sure it is fully worked in. You may need to splash a little more water on if the bread is fighting back when you knead. I flick water at it and knead. Flick and knead. This dough has to be smooth. You will feel it get smoother and smoother as you knead. Yes, for up to 10 minutes either by hand or in a mixer.
Put 4 tablespoons Olive Oil into your bowl or tub. Place the dough in tub. Flatten it out in the oil. Be careful not to tear with your fingers. Use the pads of your fingers. Lid on. Timer on for 30 minutes, leave somewhere warm. Every 30 minutes X 3 you need to roll your bread up in the oil, flatten and roll. You will only be able to do this about twice before the bread slides and the seams don’t join. That’s fine. Flip over so it is smooth side up.
Flip the bread into a square bread tin or greaseproof lined pyrex dish. Gently use all 10 fingers to poke holes in the dough. Scrape the last of the olive oil out of Tupperware over the bread. Sprinkle over your rosemary.
Leave to prove covered one last time for about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the warmth of your house.
It will start to bubble up and rise to double its’ size. When it wobbles, sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt flakes over the top. Be careful not to knock it or touch it or it will implode! Pop in the oven for 20-25.