Homemade Olive & Rosemary Focaccia

Every year we host a summer barbecue as an excuse to get all our friends together in one place for a good social. Eating is a big part of the day so I make two types of focaccia, one with rosemary, sea salt and olives and the other with salt and pepper to accompany dips and sauces. This is a great way to keep everyone nibbling on the freshest out of the oven bread. There is little more satisfying….

Ingredients (makes two good size breads)
500g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 sachets dried easy blend yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml cold water
olive oil, for drizzling

For the garnish 
Sea salt (Maldon)
2 tbsp stoned black or green olives
2 sprigs worth of rosemary leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method
1.  Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml of the cold water into a large bowl. Gently stir to form a dough then knead the dough in the bowl for a 6 minutes adding left over water as needed to form a good consistency.

2.  Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and  knead for ten minutes. Once the dough is pliable and springs back once depressed with a fingertip, return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

3.  Lightly dust two baking sheets. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into two portions. Flatten each portion onto a baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one hour.

5  Preheat the oven to 220C. Drizzle the loaves with oil, sprinkle with fine sea salt, rosemary leaves and press in olives, slat and pepper for the other, then bake in the oven for 20 – 25. When cooked, drizzle with olive oil and serve. (I always tap the loaf at the base to hear a nice hollow earthy sound)

** I like to serve the warm bread with a thick and creamy tzatziki; chopped tomato, chilli, pomegranate & smooth luxurious hummus dips. Of course extra virgin olive oil with splashes of balsamic is a must. **

TIP: make this recipe your own by adding whatever takes your fancy for garnish… sun-dried tomatoes, chilli flakes etc

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