This delicious Italian bread, made using olive oil and rosemary, is a perfect accompaniment or ideal on its own as a snack
- 500g (1lb) strong white flour
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp sugar
- 7g sachet fast-action/easy-blend yeast
- 350ml (12fl oz) water, at blood temperature
- 175g (6oz) pitted black olives
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 8tbsp olive oil
- Sprigs of rosemary
- 1-2tbsp coarse sea salt
Sift flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl; stir in yeast and water. Mix to a soft dough, adding more water if necessary. Turn out on to a lightly-floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins until smooth and elastic. (Make dough in a food processor with a dough hook, if you have one, and mix for just 5 mins, then knead for a couple of minutes.)
Place dough back in the cleaned and oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hr).
Cut about a third of the olives into slices and set aside. Roughly chop rest of olives and mix with the garlic and 4tbsp of the olive oil.
Turn the risen dough on to a lightly-floured work surface and ‘knock it back’ for a couple of minutes. Then roll or stretch it out to approx 32cm (12½ in) square. Spread olive and garlic mixture over one half of the square, leaving a 2cm (¾ in) border.
Dip your finger in water and wet the border, then fold dough over to sandwich the olives inside. Put on to an oiled baking sheet, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place again, for about 30 mins.
Set the oven to fairly hot, 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Press the risen dough down at intervals using your thumb to make impressions. Place a slice of olive and sprigs of rosemary in each hollow. Scatter coarse sea salt over and drizzle with the rest of the oil. Bake for 30-35 mins until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack. Present the loaf whole or cut into fingers for serving.
Top tip for making Focaccia
This is best eaten on the day or day after making, but it will keep wrapped for 3-4 days. To freeze, cool first, then place in a large polybag (in batches is best. Use within three months. Loosen wrappings and thaw at room temperature.