Most people have heard of focaccia, the flavourful and fluffy bread originating from Italy. However, there are also variations in the way focaccia is made and especially in the consistency and weight. I like this recipe for focaccia because the end result is light and fluffy on the inside, and slightly crispy on the outside. I often top the focaccia with rosemary and salt, but there are endless variations depending on your taste. This recipe was originally shared with me by my friend Giorgio from Bologna. In fact, I was lucky enough to make focaccia with him the first time. We took great care with the dough and the preparation, and then we enjoyed eating the result of our efforts. The recipe does take some time for rising cycles, but they are necessary and worth the wait!
400 ml warm water
15 grams fine salt
21 g (3 x 7g packet) dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
600 g strong white bread flour (plain flour can substitute)
150 ml Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp sea salt flakes or small crystals
Rosemary, leaves only and not the stem
In a large bowl, add salt and warm water. Then add sugar and 40 ml olive oil. Next, mix in 300g flour until a soft paste forms. Then mix in yeast for about 2 minutes. And lastly, mix in remaining 300g flour.
On a floured surface, knead the dough until uniform. It will be soft and sticky. Put 50 ml olive oil on large baking tray. Leave the ball of dough on the oil to rise for 30 minutes.
Next, brush the top of dough with olive oil and spread dough evenly in baking tray. Let the dough rise in oven at 30C for one hour.
Remove from oven, brush with more oil and sprinkle with salt crystals. Using 3 fingers, punch dimples into the dough across the whole surface. Return to oven at 30C for 30 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven, and add more oil and rosemary. I try to tear the leaves off in small bunches and put them into the dimples because it looks nice. Spray or sprinkle with a little bit of water.
Finally, return the dough to the oven at 30C for 30 minutes. Then increase temperature to 200C and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
This freezes well in pieces. Just briefly toast, bake or microwave to re-heat.
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