If your New Year’s resolution was to try your hand at bread making then you’re in luck, if not it’s fine, we’ll still let you have a go!
Our friends at the River Cottage Cookery School have kindly shared their lovely focaccia recipe with us. It’s an excellent sharing bread, perfect for serving with supper when your friends come round. And the best bit? It’s really easy to make.
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Makes 1 focaccia
You will need:
500 g strong white bread flour
5 g powdered dried yeast
10 g fine salt
325 ml warm water
About 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for coating
A generous drizzle of olive oil
A sprinkle of flaky sea salt
A couple of rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped
To knead by hand: mix the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky, about 10 minutes.
Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.
Shape the dough into a round and coat with a little extra oil. Leave to rise in a clean bowl, covered with a plastic bag. When it has doubled in size, tip it on to the work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking tray, measuring about 26 x 36cm. Press the dough in with your fingers, right into the corners. Now leave to rise, covered, for about half an hour.
Preheat your oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 10, or as high as it will go. When the bread looks puffed up and airy, use your fingertips to poke deep holes across the whole surface, almost to the bottom. Drizzle the top generously (but not swimmingly) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to about 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Focaccia is best eaten warm, but not hot; leave to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving, or leave to cool completely.
This recipe features in the “River Cottage Bread Handbook”, published by Bloomsbury Publishing plc, and available from rivercottage.net.