I never bake, I think it’s a very delicate skill that only few people can master. The last time I have made any sort of baked goods was during my time working at Earls, where I learned to make fresh hamburger buns, and focaccia bread at one point as well. At no time was baking my main role so I only touched on it a handful of times. Now, feeling adventurous and eager to try new recipes, I found myself inspired to bake after watching Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course on the Food Network. I figured it can’t be that bad. Focaccia bread is nice and simple to make if your new at baking, the recipe is straight forward and it doesn’t take much skill or time to get it done. But the end result is fantastic!
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1 heaped tbsp coarse semolina
- 2 × 7g sachets dried yeast
- 50ml olive oil, plus a little extra
- 75g pitted black olives, sliced
- 150g sundried tomatoes
- 2–3 rosemary sprigs, leaves only
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Measure your olive oil and mix with about 320ml warm water. Create a small well in the middle of the flour, begin mixing the oil and water mix in gradually. Don’t use your hands for this yet until it’s come together.
When the dough has expanded to double the original volume, take out of the bowl. Take your baking tray (approx 28 x 20cm), oil the bottom and sprinkle in salt and pepper at the bottom of the tray. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Place the dough on the tray and get a little olive oil on your hands. Begin to gently massage the dough and allow it to spread evenly to all the corners of the tray.
Place your sun-dried tomatoes and olives evenly across the dough, then gently push into the dough, about halfway down. Then pull off your fresh rosemary leaves and sprinkle on top. Finish with a little olive oil, salt & pepper. Cook for approximately 30 min until golden brown.
This recipe was honestly such a simple bread to make. It’s so versatile too! We at it two days in a row, as fresh bread with a little olive oil and balsamic, and the second day with a great tomato, basil and parmesean meatball soup (see my recipe here). It is so delicious just to eat on its own because of its rustic herby flavours mixed with those nice bites of olive and sun-dried tomato. Definitely a bread to bake for serving large parties. Use it the next day for a sandwich if you want as well! Goes great with bacon, avocado, and tomato in a deluxe BLT!
Proofing – Used in baking with yeast recipes. This means to allow the dough to rise. Also sometimes called the ‘fermentation’ stage. Warm temperatures increase the activity of the yeast, allowing it to rise more rapidly.