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Focaccia

FOR THE DOUGH:
500g Strong white flour
10g Fast acting dried yeast (I use Doves Farm)
10g Salt
50g Olive oil
320g Water at room temperature
Oiled baking tray ideally with a lip or line your baking tray 
if its not very non stick like mine. (mine is 24cmx34cm but I sometimes
use one a bit bigger than this and that is fine to)

FOR THE TOPPINGS:
Olive oil 
For the recipe opposite I have used rosemary (fresh) &
sea salt 
But you can use olives, tapenade, spices or other herbs – I often top
with 3 different toppings in segments to have a variety.

I love making bread and this is my families favourite.  It never lasts more than a day and my kids love it warm.  I have a mixer with a dough hook which makes everything so much easier but if you are making by hand and want to see a master at work then check out Richard Bertinet on YouTube.

Using a mixer, put the water in the bowl and the oil.  Top with the flour and put the yeast on one side and the salt on the other.  If they mix too early the salt makes the yeast less active.  Mix for 2 minutes on a slow setting and then increase to a medium setting for about 8-10 minutes.  The dough should lift clean away from the sides, neat and springy in texture.
Remove the dough from the bowl and use a dough scraper (totally invaluable) to move the dough around the work surface to make a tight springy ball.  I don’t use any flour on my granite kitchen surface but if you do, keep it minimal. 
Put it back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave for an hour or more until it nearly doubles in size.  Depending on the temperature, it can sometimes take a couple of hours.

Once the dough has proved, put it onto your baking tray. (oiled or lined).  You want to slightly push it down so its has a flat top.  Now add a couple of tablespoons olive oil to the top and using your fingers push the dough outwards towards the sides of the tray.  You should find it quite easy with the oil and you are aiming to flatten it out to fit the tray evenly.

Cover* and leave again for about an hour.  At this stage, you want to start preparing your toppings.  For the rosemary & sea salt recipe, chop up most of your rosemary finely and leave a few of the sprigs whole.  Sprinkle your chopped rosemary over the dough and use your fingers to dimple the top of the dough which will also push your rosemary in. Cover and leave again for another 30 minutes but 15 mins before the end heat your oven to 220°C fan. 

Re-dimple your dough, Add your rosemary sprigs & a sprinkle of salt.  Bake in your pre-heated oven to cook for 20-25 minutes until its nice and golden. 
Once baked, cool on a rack and add a drizzle more oil and a sprinkle of salt whilst it’s warm.  This soaks in an makes it even more delicious.

*Because the dough oily, I surround the baking tray with some taller kitchen implements and drape my cover over these to stop it soaking up the oil.

To Drink: Pair with any of the Drinks Kitchen aperitif alongside some dips, olives, meats or cheeses.  

 

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