We absolutely love fresh bread, especially when it’s baked at home. From the soft crumb with the fluffy interior, to the crusty crumb with the chewy interior; from the complex crumb, which is densely packed with bran to the wonderous fruit and nut studded loaves. We love them all! Focaccia is no different. We love focaccia!
I’ve always had a thing about focaccia. I used to look forward to picking up a batch from our local Waitrose on Saturday afternoon, only to devour it later for dinner. It had three different varieties – plain, pesto and sun-dried tomato… mmmm! They were soft, tender, airy and full of mind-blowing flavor!
I only made my first focaccia last June when we had our first Purple Sage (my catering company) event. It looked so good – I was drooling at it when it came out of the oven, but I was not to touch it until later, when it was sliced for the bread baskets. Come the end of the night, I still didn’t get to try any of that damn focaccia, pffft!
The recipe that I’ve posted below is not from that event, but the one I use to make in my own domestic kitchen. It works well, and is the one that I use for our Friday soup nights. This focaccia is airy, light and flavorsome (flavorful) and the crisp rosemary/salt speckled surface is truly delicious!
The first time I made this recipe, I asked J if he had any ideas of what to do with the leftover rosemary, he replied “make another focaccia!”
I’ve played around with the recipe a little bit, and I find it novel to make the focaccia in a round tin (pan). The recipe below can be halved to make a 9-inch round focaccia.
Makes 1 – 38 x 25 x 2.5 cm (15 x 10 x 1 inch) focaccia
Adapted from Gourmet – Rosemary Focaccia
For the focaccia base
- 2 t dried active yeast
- 460 g (1 ¾ c and 3 T) hand warm water
- 630 g (4 ¼ c) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 ½ T extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 t salt
For the topping
- 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 T fresh rosemary, roughly chopped (or any other topping you like, examples include sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions, roasted garlic etc)
- 1 t coarse salt*
* If the salt is too coarse – you may need to grind it up a little before sprinkling
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the yeast and water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until frothy.
2. Place the flour, olive oil (for the focaccia base) and salt into the yeast mixture. With the dough hook attachment, mix on low-medium until a dough is formed. You may need 1-2 T more water, because it’s a sticky dough you’re after. Continue to knead on a medium speed for about 5-10 minutes or until the dough is elastic, but still slightly sticky (tacky).
3. Cover the bowl with cling-film (plastic wrap) and allow to double in bulk in a warm spot, about 1-1 ½ hours. Alternatively, you can pop the whole bowl into the refrigerator and allow the dough to cold-prove overnight. If chilling the dough, remove the dough from the refrigerator 1 hour before proceeding to the next step.
4. Using some of the olive oil (for the topping), grease the baking tray (pan) generously.
5. Pour the dough onto the baking tray (pan). Dip your fingers into the olive oil and push the dough into the corners of the tray (pan) to fill evenly. Make indentations in the dough, using oiled finger tips. Brush with the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and rosemary and allow to prove (uncovered) for an additional hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 220°/425°F.
7. Bake the focaccia in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown all over. Remove from the tray (pan) using a large spatula and allow to cool on a wire rack. You must resist the temptation in slicing the focaccia whilst hot; this will ruin the texture of the bread. Once cooled to a warm/room temperature, slice into decent sized pieces and enjoy!