About this recipe:This light Italian flat bread is prepared from a soft dough enriched with olive oil. Extra olive oil is traditionally sprinkled over the dough before baking – sometimes in generous quantities – but this recipe uses just enough to give a good texture and flavour. Focaccia makes an ideal accompaniment to Italian meats, cheeses and salads.
450 g (1 lb) strong white (bread) flour
1 tsp salt
1 sachet easy-blend dried yeast, about 7 g
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300 ml (10 fl oz) tepid water
½ tsp coarse sea salt
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Method Prep:1hr › Cook:15min › Ready in:1hr15min
Put the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt and yeast. Make a well in the centre and pour in 3 tbsp of the olive oil and the tepid water. Gradually mix the flour into the oil and water, using a wooden spoon at first, then by hand, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Keep the dough moving by turning, punching and folding it to prevent it from sticking. Sprinkle the surface with a little extra flour if necessary, but try not to add too much as this will make the dough dry.
Shape the dough into a ball and slap it onto a greased baking sheet, then roll it out (or push it out with your hands) into a round about 21 cm (8 1/2 in) in diameter and 2 cm ( 3/4 in) thick. Cover loosely with a clean tea-towel, tucking the ends under the baking sheet, and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until the dough has double 1/2 in thickness.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF, gas mark 8). Uncover the bread. Pour a little hand-hot water into a cup, then dip your fingers into the water and press into the risen dough to make deep dents all over the top; wet your fingers each time, to leave the top of the loaf moist. Brush the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil over the bread and sprinkle with the coarse salt.
Bake the focaccia for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then wrap it in a clean tea-towel to soften the crust. Serve warm or allow to cool completely. The bread can be kept in a polythene bag for up to 2 days.
Each slice provides
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which may help to lower blood cholesterol levels. * Although focaccia has slightly more fat than other types of bread, it has a moist texture and so can be eaten plain, without spreading with butter or other fat.
Some more ideas
To make individual focaccia, divide the dough into 8 portions. Press each portion out into a round about 10 cm (4 in) in diameter. These small breads will rise in 30–45 minutes and bake in 10–15 minutes. * A variety of ingredients can be sprinkled over the focaccia before baking. Try fennel or dill seeds, chopped fresh or dried oregano, finely chopped onion and/or garlic, or chopped black or green olives. * For olive focaccia, stone and chop 8 black olives and add to the dough with the olive oil and water. Sprinkle 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary over the focaccia before making the dents on the surface with your fingers. * For thyme and garlic focaccia, add 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme to the dough with the oil and water, and sprinkle over 2 finely chopped garlic cloves before making the dents. *For sun-dried tomato focaccia, add 4 finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the dough with the oil and water. Before serving, sprinkle with some shredded fresh basil.
I made this as a last min side to my spagetti and meatballs. I rubbed garlic and pepper on the top instead of salt. I was easy and quick and due to not having a very good oven bread does not normally come out as light as I would wish ... this bread did (twice now) .. lol. - 26 Jan 2009
Fabulous recipe, easy to make and simple ingredients. I would add the some other ideas i.e. sun dried tomatoes etc at number to so I could clearly see the variations if desired I have only just found them after making it - 19 Feb 2011
Wonderfully simple recipe for very tasty bread. If it's your first time making, check out the other varieties you can try at the end of the recipe.
I made individual ones today, 2 each of plain, garlic & rosemary, tomato (thinly sliced and put on before baking) & basil and lastly chives. - 14 Oct 2012