Focaccia is a simple bread, that requires very little skill to make.
That doesn’t mean you can’t make it look pretty, though; studding the dough with olives, tomatoes, and herbs will not only give great flavour – it can turn this basic bread into something truly beautiful!
- 350 ml warm water (~38c – the temperature of a warm bath)
- 10 g instant yeast
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 10 g salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for greasing)
- olive oil
- sea salt flakes
- Place the warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer, and sprinkle the instant yeast over the top.
- Add the flour, followed by the salt and olive oil, then bring together using the dough hook attachment.
- Once the dough has come together, mix on a medium low speed for about 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do this by hand, stretching and kneading it on a clean table.
- Grease a clean bowl with a little olive oil, then scrape the dough into the bowl. Greasing your hands will stop the dough from sticking.
- Turn the dough over in the bowl so that it is coated in the oil, then cover and leave to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Take a non-stick 13×9 inch rectangular traybake pan, and add a generous amount of olive oil.
- Tip the pan from side to side to ensure that the entire bottom is completely covered in the oil – this will give you a crisp base.
- Scrape the risen dough into the pan, and press gently into the corners to fill the pan evenly.
- If the dough is fighting you and keeps springing back, leave it to rest for a few minutes and then try again.
- Sprinkle the dough with a generous amount of olive oil, then push your fingers through the dough all the way to the pan, creating holes all over the entire dough. This will encourage the oil to pool in little pockets within the dough.
- If you want to add any toppings, or create a design, do this now.
- To create the roses, quarter tomatoes and carve out the insides, leaving only the skin. Coil up the skins and push them into the dough to create the rose shapes. If you are adding herbs, rub them in olive oil first.
- Cover the dough and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200c / 180c fan.
- Once the dough has risen for a second time, sprinkle with yet another generous glug of olive oil, then sprinkle with a good pinch of coarse sea salt flakes.
- Bake the focaccia for 25-30 minutes until pleasingly browned on top.
- Remove from the tin immediately and transfer to a wire rack. Sprinkle with yet another glug of olive oil.
- Leave to cool a little before tucking in, but best enjoyed still warm!