Bread making can be time consuming, it can be messy, it can also be a real joy. This recipe for Focaccia bread is definitely the all of these. We had half of the loaf almost straight from the oven with our salmon at the weekend, the other half was finished yesterday, it was perfect for mopping up the sauce from a Sri Lanken Chicken Curry. The bread tasted amazing both warm and at room temperature and it’s one of those ‘never fail’ recipes which I’ll keep for a lifetime.
Here’s the recipe:
500g strong white flour
5g sea salt + extra for flaking over the bread
5g fast action yeast
2 tbsp olive oil + extra for drizzling over the bread
Fresh herb leaves, chopped (e.g. Rosemary, Thyme, Basil etc)
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the yeast, together with 350ml warm water and mix into a dough. Add the oil and mix it in. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead until the dough is very smooth, this will take about 10 minutes and you will need to keep dusting your hands with flour as the dough will be sticky to begin with. Alternatively, if you have a mixer with a dough hook, switch your machine on and mix your dough for between 5 and 10 minutes.
Shape the dough so that it fits in to the base of a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rise somewhere warm for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Knock back the dough and leave for another hour.
Lightly oil a 25cm x 35cm baking tin, then tip the dough in to it. Press the dough in to the corners. Cover again with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
Once the dough has risen, poke rows of dimples in to the dough with your fingers. Drizzle olive oil over the surface of the bread, sprinkle the sea salt over and then the herbs.
Bake the bread at 200C for about 15 minutes or so.
Serve warm or at room temperature.