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In another lifetime, I taught Italian cookery to adults, and one of our most popular sessions was the focaccia bread session. A really quick and easy but most satisfying of breads.
- 460g strong bread flour (plain will work)
- 280 to 300ml warm water (start with less)
- 32 x 5ml instant acting dried yeast or 25g fresh yeast
- 50g sun dried tomatoes or topping of your choice
- Pinch of sugar (optional)
- 3 x 5ml (3 x 2 tsps) olive oil (plus a little extra)
- 1 x 5ml (1 tsp) coarse sea salt
- 1 x 5ml (1 tsp) rosemary
- Maggie’s Original Chilli Sauce
- Mix dried yeast with the flour, about 250ml of water, sugar and olive oil. Knead until dough has a springy consistency. 2-3 minutes by hand or 1 minute in a food processor. Add more water if required.
- Roll the dough into a ball and cover with olive oil, put in a large bowl and cover with a damp tea towel.
- Leave the dough to rise for about 30 minutes to 1 hour until roughly doubled in size.
- Then knock back the risen dough with your hand and knead for another 35 seconds to 1 min.
- On a lightly greased baking sheet, spread dough out to a flat, thin rectangle either by hand or with rolling pin. Make indents all over the bread with fingertips.
- Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, rosemary and chopped sun dried tomatoes.
- At this stage you could also hand paint on some ‘hotspots’ using Maggie’s Original Chilli Sauce (pictured above).
- Leave to prove for another 30 mins then bake in hot oven 400 F/200 C/190 C fan/Gas mark 6-7 for about 15-20 mins until golden brown.