Rosemary Sea Salt Focaccia

Traditional Italian focaccia. Fluffy olive oil bread topped with fragrant rosemary and sea salt.

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There really is nothing better than homemade bread. Freshly baked, it always tastes amazing. Focaccia is one of the bread recipes I make most often – baking it every week, usually at the weekends when I have more time. Sliced up it makes a brilliant light lunch or appetiser served as part of an antipasto. I’ve already shared a few focaccia recipes on the blog, but this time I wanted to share a basic rosemary focaccia. I love the simplicity of this bread, and of course the beautiful aromatic flavour.

I made this focaccia for a recipe test run a few weekends back. To say the least, it went down a treat and got devoured as quick as anything. With just four people in our household, it vanished pretty quickly soon after baking – which is definitely a great sign! Hands down this is my favourite focaccia recipe!

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I kept the flavours very simple. Rosemary and sea salt is a classic focaccia topping and one of our favourites. We use homegrown rosemary, mum took a cutting from our villa a few years ago in Tuscany, we planted when we got home and ever since it has flourished, and produces enough rosemary for our culinary needs each year!

This focaccia starts with an olive oil bread dough. I use extra virgin olive oil which adds real depth of flavour, gives the bread that authentic taste and keeps it soft and fluffy. You can prepare the dough by hand (the traditional way) or use an electric mixer like I do. Both ways will work just as well, producing a fluffy and crisp focaccia.

You can top the focaccia with anything you like. Bake it until golden and then tear and dip into some good olive oil.

 Ingredients:

500g strong white bread flour

7g (1 packet) fast action dried yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

50ml (3 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

300ml (1/2 pint) warm water – make sure it isn’t boiling

Toppings:

1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

A few sprigs fresh rosemary

Course sea salt, for sprinkling

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl add the flour. Add the yeast to one side and the salt to the other. Add the sugar and then mix to combine.
  2. Mix together the water and oil and then add the flour. Using a wooden spoon mix together until a soft and sticky dough comes together. Then lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough by hand until smooth and elastic for 10 minutes. You can also knead the dough in an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment for 5 minutes.
  3. Once kneaded, lightly oil a bowl and add the dough. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size – this will take around an hour.
  4. When doubled in size lightly grease a baking tin (approx. 22cm x 32cm) with olive oil (1-2 tbsp). Add the dough and press out into the tin until even – it doesn’t need to look perfect! Cover the tray and again leave in a warm place until doubled in size. (45-60 minutes approx.)
  5. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C Fan / 200 degrees. Press small holes into the dough with your fingertips. Poke the rosemary in the holes and scatter over the oregano and sea salt. Drizzle the focaccia with a little extra oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until risen and lightly coloured. Once the bread sounds hollow, remove from tin and cool on a wire rack. Slice up and enjoy anyway you like   Serve the focaccia dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It can be served both at room temperature and gently warmed in the oven. Both ways are delicious!

Note: The focaccia is best eaten on the day of making, but it will keep in a bread bag or airtight container for an extra day.

Enjoy!

jess

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