Making your own bread is fun and very satisfying. Focaccia is one of my favourite types of bread, as it’s really tasty and very easy to make.
6 oz (175g) Strong white flour
1 tsp salt
4 g easy-blend yeast
2.5 tsp dried rosemary
100 ml hand-hot water
2.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sift the flour and most of the salt (reserving a little for sprinkling later) into a mixing bowl. Add the yeast, and 1.5 tsp dried rosemary.
Gradually stir in the water and 1.5 tbsp of the olive oil to make a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. This should take about 5 minutes.
Shape into a round, of about 5 cm thick. Place on a greased (or baking paper covered) baking tray and prick all over with a fork.
Cover with greased clingfilm and leave in a warm place until doubled in size – about 1.5 to 2 hrs.
Preheat the oven to 220° C/gas mark 7 or 200° C if you have a fan oven.
When risen, remove the clingfilm. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the bread and lightly spread out with your hands or a silicone brush. Sprinkle over the remaining rosemary and a couple of pinches of salt. If you have an olive oil spray, it’s good to mist over the dried herbs before baking.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and hollow-sounding when the base is tapped. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
You can adapt this recipe, by using different herbs and incorporating different extra ingredients into the bread. Substituting the rosemary for basil, and adding sun-dried tomatoes to the dough, makes a tasty variation.
For extra flavour and decoration, you can top with olives before baking. Chopped peppers and onions also make great toppings.