Focaccia is a flat Italian bread flavoured with olive oil. This recipe adds just enough oil to make a great tasting loaf that is really quite simple to make. It is also a good starting point when making yeast breads for the first time and is probably the easiest type of yeast bread to make. You can add additional flavours to the basic recipe creating your own favourite.
Perhaps it’s in my blood, I am a baker’s daughter after all, but I love making bread. When I started this blog at the end of last year a friend of mine said that she wanted to make Focaccia bread. After I told her how simple it was to make, I promised to put a recipe on my blog once it was up and running. So, true to my word, here it is.
I have called this recipe easy focaccia because I think that best sums it up. It might not be the most authentic recipe, but it’s packed with flavour and easy to make. What more can you ask for? I like my focaccia best when it has additional flavours, and for the purpose of this recipe I have divided the dough into two flavouring each piece differently. Once you have mastered the basics, try playing around with your own favouirite flavours, a different herb perhaps, olives, or sautéed onion. Which ever flavour I choose I like to top the bread with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.
It is at its best on the day it is made, but will keep for a day if wrapped and stored in a cool dry place. You can freshen it up by sprinkling it with a few splashes of water, wrapping it in foil and popping it into a warm oven for a few minutes to warm through.
Step by step easy focaccia
- 500g (1lb 2oz) white bread flour
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 7g sachet easy blend yeast
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- (½pt) warm water
- 2 pieces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- few sprigs fresh rosemary
- Maldon salt for sprinkling
- Place the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl then stir in the yeast.
- Make a well in the centre, add the oil and warm water, and mix to form a smooth dough. Turn out onto a work surface and knead the dough for a few minutes.
- Return to the bowl, cover loosely and leave in a warm place to rise until double in size.
- Knock back the dough and knead lightly again. Divide the dough into two pieces.
- Remove the rosemary leaves from the stem and chop finely so that you have about 1 tbsp of chopped rosemary. Roughly chop a little more or,if preferred, leave whole to sprinkle on the top and set aside.
- Sprinkle the finely chopped rosemary onto half the dough and knead until evenly distributed through the dough. Knead the sun-dried tomatoes into the other piece of dough.
- Flatten each piece into a rough oval and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, flatten again until each piece is about 1cm (½in) thick.
- Cover loosely and allow to rise again for 30 minutes until puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 200℃/190℃ fan/gas mark 5. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough to make a dimpled effect. Sprinkle the surface of the rosemary bread with the reserved rosemary, then sprinkle both with sea salt.
- Drizzle a little oil over the bread and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Best served warm.
Hints and Tips
- The dough should be slightly sticky when it is first mixed. Oil the work surface to help prevent it sticking, but try to avoid adding extra flour as you may end up with a dense dry loaf.
- Unlike some breads you can get away with only lightly kneading focaccia.
- I use a shower cap to cover the bowl while the bread rises. Allow about 1 hour, although the time will vary according to the roomtemperature, the warmer it is the quicker the rise will be, so if it is a cold day you may need to wait a little longer.
- Knocking back is the term used when you knock the air out of a risen dough after proving, this helps to prevent uneven holes in your finished bread. Once you have knocked it back, cut in half before adding the flavourings, or make one larger loaf.
- Spread the dough piece out, sprinkle on the flavourings, and then knead gently until evenly distributed before shaping the loaves.
- Cover loosely and allow to rise again. I use an old large, clean carrier bag but you could use oiled cling film or a damp tea-towel.
- Don’t be mean when drizzling with olive oil, it really adds to the flavour.