Rosemary focaccia

Rosemary focaccia

By
From
Leiths How to Cook
Makes
1
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

Focaccia is quick and easy to prepare as it has just one rise, unlike other breads. This produces a characteristic uneven, more open texture with bigger holes. It can be flavoured with various herbs, garlic or grated cheese.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 rosemary sprigs
10g fresh yeast
150-160ml warm water
250g strong plain flour, plus extra to dust
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon maldon sea salt

Method

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small bowl, add the rosemary sprigs and set aside.
  2. Put the yeast in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the water and stir to dissolve.
  3. Put the flour and the 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Pour in the dissolved yeast, remaining 2½ tablespoons oil and at least three-quarters of the remaining water, using some to swill out any yeast stuck in the small bowl. Stir quickly, adding the remaining water if the dough feels a little dry or firm, bearing in mind that a wetter dough is better than a drier one.
  4. When all the ingredients are well mixed, remove the dough to a very lightly floured work surface and knead for a couple of minutes. The dough might be a little soft and wet, but don’t be tempted to add more flour. A scraper is useful for this.
  5. Remove a rosemary sprig from the oil and place it on an oiled baking sheet. Pat out or roll the dough with a rolling pin into an oval about 2 cm thick, and place on top of the rosemary.
  6. Cover with a piece of oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has nearly doubled in size and is soft and pillowy. To check the dough has risen enough, lightly press it in one corner with your finger; it should leave a little indentation. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200ºC.
  7. Remove the cling film and, using the lightly oiled fingers of one hand, make dimples at regular intervals in the dough, taking care not to push too hard and collapse the dough.
  8. Remove the second rosemary sprig from the oil, reserving the oil, then tear off small sprigs and push these into the dimples in the dough. Drizzle the infused oil over the dough and sprinkle with the sea salt.
  9. Bake for 20–30 minutes until golden. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and leave to cool, covering it with a tea towel to soften the crust, or leaving it uncovered if you prefer a hard crust.

Variations

  • Red onion focaccia: Omit the rosemary. As the dough is rising, halve and peel 2 red onions. Cut each half through the root end into 3 wedges, keeping the wedges intact. Place on an oiled baking tray and toss in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes, adding 3 unpeeled garlic cloves after 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool a little, then squeeze the garlic from their papery skins and break into smaller pieces. Scatter the onions and garlic over the risen dough and press them in lightly. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake as for the main recipe.

    Sage and Gorgonzola focaccia: Omit the rosemary and make a double quantity of dough. Divide the dough in half and pat or roll out into 2 discs, about 1.5 cm thick. Place one on a lightly oiled baking sheet and scatter over 150 g Gorgonzola, broken into small pieces, and 6–8 torn sage leaves. Carefully lay over the second dough disc, pressing down the edges to seal and encase the flavourings. Dimple the risen dough as above, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt (but sparingly as the cheese is salty) and bake for 10–15 minutes more than the main recipe.
Tags:
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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