Focaccia

Focaccia

By
From
River Cottage Every Day
Makes
12 pieces
Photographer
Simon Wheeler

This soft, tasty bread, with its light, oily, salty crust, is eminently tearable and dippable. Put a freshly baked focaccia on the table, plus maybe some dukka and a few sliced ripe tomatoes – perhaps a bottle of chilled rosé – and the scene is set for a very good evening.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g strong white flour
10g fine sea salt
5g dried or fast-action yeast
2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil

To finish:

Quantity Ingredient
rapeseed or olive oil
flaky sea salt
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped, Leaves

Method

  1. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and mix together. If you’re using ordinary dried yeast, dissolve it in 350ml warm water. If using fastaction yeast, add it straight to the flour. Add the yeast liquid or 350ml warm water to the flour and mix to a very rough, soft dough. Add the oil and squish it all in.
  2. Scrape the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. With lightly floured hands, knead until it is smooth and silky – anything between 5 and 15 minutes. As it’s a very sticky dough, you’ll need to keep dusting your hands with flour; it will become less sticky as you knead.
  3. Shape the dough into a round, put it in a lightly oiled bowl, then cover with lightly oiled cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to rise until it has doubled in size; this will take about an hour. Knock back the dough and, if you have time, leave it to rise again in the same way. Meanwhile, lightly oil a shallow baking tin, about 25 x 35cm.
  4. Press the dough out into a rough rectangle on a floured surface, then lift into the baking tin and press right into the corners. Cover with oiled cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise for about half an hour.
  5. Once risen, use your fingertips to poke rows of deep dimples across the surface. Trickle the top generously with oil, then sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake in the oven preheated to its highest setting (at least 230°C) for 15–20 minutes, turning it down after 10 minutes if the focaccia is browning too fast. Serve just warm, or let it cool completely.

Variations

  • Focaccia is a bit of a blank slate: you can make it your own by adding all manner of different flavourings. Here are a few ideas:

    • Add some finely chopped rosemary and/or thyme, or dried chilli flakes to the flour at the start.

    • Knead some chopped black or green olives and/or sun-dried tomatoes into the dough after the first rising.

    • Push some thyme sprigs, sage leaves or strips of roasted pepper into the dough when you poke the dimples before baking.
Tags:
River Cottage
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
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