Olive Rosemary Focaccia

My last experience in baking with yeast involved a failed pizza dough in the middle of winter and since then, I haven’t so much as dared to try and bake my own bread.

With my recent invitation to Masterchef Australia auditions, however, I felt that it was about time that I start to conquer my cooking fears/phobias one at a time, lest I dissolve into a hysterical mess in front of national television…!

This basic focaccia dough recipe came from Bill’s Italian Food by Bill Granger, and I’ve added a bit of honey into the dough as well which really adds a lovely mellow-ness. I’d recommend you use a good quality olive oil when making this (i.e. from a bottle, not one of those five litre containers) because you really can taste the smoothness that the oil gives to the wonderfully soft dough. This is a perfect recipe for beginners to playing with yeast, and I had made this on a 30 degree day – so there was no chance of my yeast failing!

You will need:

  • 7g sachet instant yeast;
  • 615g strong white bread flour;
  • 1 teaspoon salt;
  • 3 teaspoons sugar;
  • 1 teaspoons honey;
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix the oil, honey and 300ml tepid water in a jug before pouring into the well, stirring until the dough is soft. If the dough is too dry, add a little more liquid; if too wet, a little more flour.

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IMG_0063Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.

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IMG_0067And…..you have magic happen right before your eyes.

IMG_0088Tip the risen dough onto the floured surface and knock back to its original size by punching it gently.

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IMG_0090Place on a lightly oiled baking tray and stretch out to the size of your baking tray (mine was about 20cm x 30cm). Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

IMG_0091Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celcius. Make dimples in the dough with your fingertips and top with sprigs of rosemary and the pitted kalamata olives.

IMG_0092Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle over a little sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden, cooked through, and its gorgeous aroma fills the whole kitchen. Serve warm.

BeFunky_IMG_0101.jpgI took it to work and enjoyed tearing off pieces of the soft focaccia and accompanying it with pieces of creamy bocconcini cheese and slices of a slightly spicy salami; almost like a ploughman’s lunch – but a much nicer one 😉

7 Comments Add yours

  1. My goodness, the reference to Masterchef was very sneakily thrown in! What’s happening with that – are you auditioning? Good luck!

  2. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    Well done girl. Glad you conquered your fears. It looks flawless!

  3. Nancy says:

    Ah, success using yeast! Bravo, looks delicious. And much luck with Masterchef, love the US version!

  4. Congratulations on conquering this recipe and good luck with Australia Masterchef! I shall never forget my first introduction to Focaccia bread as a little girl. I thought the black olives on top were melted chocolate buttons and mistook the salt for sugar. It didn’t taste a bit like I was expecting!

  5. this looks amazing. i reckon it would have been incredibly delicious. good luck with the Masterchef auditions!

  6. Jas@AbsolutelyJas says:

    Gorgeous foccacia! I’m very curious about your Masterchef experience and what you think of that ridiculous contract that they make contestants sign…!!

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