We were recently reminiscing the fact that we hadn’t had rosemary focaccia for a very long time so set out to rectify this omission. And we weren’t disappointed. Once upon a time this bread was a staple that was whipped up whenever Spicy Pumpkin Soup was on the menu. The term ‘whipped up’ is used loosely as the dough needs to rise a couple of times so takes a couple of hours to prepare. But it’s well worth the effort.It is a great accompaniment and long ago, also served the purpose of filling up the pumpkin soup naysayers. With 6 people to share it with, there was only so much bread they were given, but it stopped them complaining they were hungry because they didn’t like the soup.
The added bonus of making your own focaccia is that it’s great to make with kids. Kneading can be either tedious or therapeutic, depending on your mood. That’s where children come in handy. Give them the dough, a few basic instructions, and sit back and watch while they knead their hearts out with great pride and enthusiasm. They loved it, I loved it, just make sure they wash their hands well first.
Don’t be limited by the rosemary either. Sprinkle a herb of your choosing and change it up a bit. Enjoy!
- 7 g packet dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 250 g strong white baker's flour, plus extra to knead
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 12 black olives
- sea salt, to season
- Place the yeast, honey and ⅓ cup (80 ml) warm water in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Put the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl and mix it together with a balloon whisk. Make a well in the centre, then add the yeast mixture, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 100 ml warm water. Using your hands, mix together to form a dough.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on the bench, turn out the dough, and knead for 5 minutes. It should be soft and smooth, with a slight spring to it when you are finished.
- Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place to rise for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Grease a 30 x 24 cm shallow baking tray. Tip out the dough and form it into the size of the tin with your hands. Press it lightly into the baking tray and using your fingers, put 12 dents into the surface of the dough.
- Combine the garlic, rosemary and remaining olive oil in a bowl and brush evenly over the dough. Place the olives in the dents you made. Set aside in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Sprinkle sea salt over the focaccia then bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.