“How hard could it be?” I said to myself while frowning. Focaccia can’t be very difficult to make when every other person I know keeps saying that their afraid-to-bake boyfriend/husband made some on the weekend or for a dinner party. To be fair, I didn’t think it would be hard, what I was more worried about is whether it would end up being one of those things that, unless you have learned how to make it from your grandma, you should just stick to buying it in a deli because the home-made result could be disastrous (read: focaccia hard as a rock, or focaccia mutates and becomes failed naan bread) and very possibly, embarrassing (read: oh yes, I said I was going to make focaccia but decided it was too messy, quick, quick, hide the evidence!). Until I decided to give it a go. It is SO easy that you won’t buy it again, unless you are in a rush, and so delicious that you will make it again just to play with different ingredients and flavours. My next one will have sundried tomatoes and the one after will definitely be a cheese and caramelised onion one. It doesn’t keep great, that’s one thing I learned after my first batch, so I would suggest you freeze half after it’s baked. Amazing with soup, brilliant for sandwiches the day after.
500g strong white flour , plus extra for dusting
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
2 tsp coarse sea salt
350ml lukewarm water
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried rosemary (though fresh would be better!)
2 cloves of garlic, mashed up with a splash of olive oil
1. Make the dough by tipping the flour, yeast, half the olive oil and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and making a well in the middle. Keep the rest of the salt aside. Pour in most of the water and use your fingers, a wooden spoon or an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment to combine the ingredients. You should get a slightly wet, pillowy, workable dough. Add more water, spoon by spoon, if necessary. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 mins, less if you are using an electric mixer, until it’s smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a clean bowl previously oiled and cover with cling film. Lleave to rise until doubled in size, which should take approximately 2 hours.
2. Heat the oven to 220C and knock back the dough and stretch to fit an oiled rectangular tin, roughly measuring 25x35cm. Leave the dough to prove for 20 minutes. Spread the mashed garlic with a baking brush (or your fingers if you don’t mind the posterior garlic scent) and scatter with the rosemary and the rest of the sea salt. Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake for 30 minutes until golden. Leave to cool, then into squares. Ta da!