Bake a batch of Mediterranean culture with Tom Kitchin’s focaccia recipe
“Focaccia epitomises everything I love about Mediterranean food – its simplicity and wonderful, rustic flavours. I especially enjoy eating this classic Italian flat bread with cured meats, a leafy salad and a tomato and basil salad dressed with good olive oil.
It’s fun to make and you can vary the topping – try chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes in place of rosemary and sea salt, for example.”
• 375ml water, lukewarm
• 1 sachet active dried yeast
• 500g strong white bread flour
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 4 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
• 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
1 Pour 100 ml of the warm water into a jug, sprinkle on the dried yeast, stir and set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl (preferably of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook), combine the flour, salt and half of the chopped rosemary.
2 Mix the yeast liquid with the remaining 275 ml warm water and 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. Using an electric mixer, or by hand, work the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture to form a smooth, soft dough.
3 Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the dough with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1–1 ½ hours until doubled in size.
4 Knock back the dough in the bowl, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape roughly into a 25 cm circle, flattening the dough gently with floured hands.
5 Line a baking tray with baking parchment, oil lightly and sprinkle with flour. Carefully transfer the dough to the baking tray and cover with oiled cling film.
6 Leave to prove until nearly doubled in size; this will take about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
7 Once the dough is ready, mix the remaining olive oil with 1 tablespoon water. Make indentations over the surface of the dough with your fingertips (see below).
8 Brush the dough with the oil and water mixture, then scatter over the remaining chopped rosemary and sprinkle generously with sea salt flakes.
9 Bake the focaccia for 20–25 minutes until well risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.
To give focaccia its characteristic dimpled surface, you need to make holes all over the surface of the dough before baking. As it’s a very sticky dough to handle, flour your fingertips before poking them into the dough to make the indentations.
Recipe courtesy of Tom Kitchin, extracted from Kitchin Suppers. Photography by Laura Edwards © Quadrille Publishing