Thursday, 5 July 2012

Rosemary Focaccia

A few years back, I received a pot of rosemary as a birthday gift and fell in love with the herb’s amazing fragrance.  It is wonderful to be able to pluck the herb off the pot and use it to cook and  bake. How much fresher can it possibly get?
When that first rosemary plant finally withered after two years, I quickly got another pot and it is now blooming beautifully. I have used the rosemary to bake salmon, chicken and bread and the herb gives the dish a distinctive flavour.  I also love the way it leaves a refreshing fragrance on your hands after you handle it.
Here is a great rosemary focaccia recipe by celebrity chef and baker Paul Hollywood from The Great British Bakeoff  - a competition where homebakers battle it out to be crowned the Great British Bake Off’s Best Amateur Baker. I am really happy with the way the focaccia turned out. It is filled with pockets of air which are the trademark of a successful focaccia.
The recipe is simple with few ingredients and very easy to make. The only thing is that it will give your arms a great workout with all the kneading. You can also knead the dough in your mixer or breadmachine.
Rosemary Focaccia (20 x 30 cm)
  • 250 g white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 g dried instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200ml cold water
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, cut into pieces
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • fine sea salt, for sprinkling
  • left over rosemary, for sprinkling
  • Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 150ml of the water into a large bowl. Gently stir with your hand or a wooden spoon to form a dough then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining 50ml of water.
  • Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre, turn the bowl 80 degrees and repeat the process for about five minutes.

  • Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.

  • Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Flatten the dough  onto a baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.  Drizzle the loaves with oil, sprinkle with fine sea salt then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. When cooked, drizzle with a little more olive oil and fresh rosemary and serve or warm.

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