Rosemary Focaccia

Baking challenge round 8: Focaccia

After a welcome break for school half-term, I’m back and baking with a vengeance!

I made a focaccia last year but my baking skills (which weren’t bad before) have improved so much that I thought I’d give it another go. This recipe (adapted from one by Paul Hollywood of GBBO fame) gave fabulous results – a light, herby, tasty bread that wasn’t oil-sodden like most commercial brands.

The big difference in making focaccia is when you knead the dough you use oil rather than flour. Strange, no? It felt quite weird (but not unpleasant) and you get that luscious extra virgin olive oil taste throughout the bread. So it makes total sense.

Rosemary Focaccia (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 2 loaves

  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 350ml cold water
  • rosemary sprigs and sea salt for the top
  • extra olive oil to drizzle on top.

– In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt.

– Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil and water.

– Bring together to form a slightly sticky dough, then knead well to make it smooth and silky. If you have a mixer with dough hooks, it would work perfectly.

– Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil on the work surface. Turn out the dough onto the oil and knead well again until the oil is incorporated into the dough.

– Place in a bowl and cover. Leave to double in size.

– Line 2 baking trays with parchment.

– Knock back the dough and cut into two pieces. Press each half into a lined baking tray, making sure it reaches the corners. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.

– Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 7

– Dimple the top of the focaccia with your fingertip and press in sprigs of rosemary and scatter on some sea salt. Drizzle with a little more oil.

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– Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Brush with a little more oil to give a lovely sheen and cool on a wire rack.

– Best eaten fresh, but will keep for a couple of days if well wrapped in parchment.

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Rosemary Focaccia

I’ve always rather liked the idea of baking my own bread, but had some rather limited success in the past. However, a recipe in May’s issue of Vegetarian Living Magazine inspired an attempt at focaccia, surely a good place to start. This recipe comes via The Thoughtful Bread Company in the magazine (put into my own words), and produced a really nice, not-too greasy focaccia. I have to admit it was hard work, (I think I’ll have to build up bread-making muscles!) but it was lovely to have some fresh baked bread that’s safe for the girls 🙂

Rosemary Focaccia (Dairy-free, egg-free, soya-free, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 4 side plate sized breads

  • 500g strong flour
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 200ml hand hot water
  • 100ml olive oil
  • extra olive oil to drizzle
  • coarse rock salt to sprinkle
  • rosemary sprigs, a handful

– Mix the dried yeast into the tepid water and set aside  to start to bubble.

– Mix together the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.

– Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir to form a dough.

– Knead well (at least 10 minutes) until the dough is smooth and doesn’t easily tear.

– Place back in the bowl, covered with a damp cloth and leave to prove until doubled in size (at least an hour).

– Knock back the dough. Cut into four and roll each into a smooth ball.

– Press each ball out with fingertips to form a thin circle. Re-press out each disc a couple of times. They should look like thick, dimpled pizza bases.

– Drizzle the top of each disc with oil and press into the dimples.

– Press rosemary sprigs into the dimples and sprinkle with coarse rock salt.

– Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cover with the damp cloth and leave to rise for half an hour.

– Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 6

– Uncover and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

– Cool on a wire rack.