This light Italian flat bread is prepared from a soft dough enriched with olive oil. This recipe uses just enough olive oil to give a good texture and flavour. Focaccia makes an ideal accompaniment to Italian meats, cheeses and salads.
450 g white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 sachet dried yeast, about 7 g
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
300 ml tepid water
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
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Place the flour in a large bowl and stir in the salt and yeast. Make a well in the centre and pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil and the water. Gradually mix the flour in; use a wooden spoon, then your hand, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Keep the dough moving by turning, punching and folding it to prevent it from sticking. Sprinkle the surface with a little extra flour if necessary, but try not to add too much as this will make the dough dry.
Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased baking tray, then roll or pat it out with your hands into a round about 20 cm in diameter and 2 cm thick. Cover the dough loosely with a clean tea-towel, tucking the ends under the tray, and leave the dough in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in thickness.
Preheat the oven to 230ºC. Uncover the dough. Pour a little hand-hot water into a cup, then dip your fingers into the water and press your fingertips into the risen dough to make deep dents all over the top; wet your fingers each time, to leave the top of the loaf moist. Brush the remaining olive oil over the bread and sprinkle with the sea salt.
Bake the focaccia for about 15 minutes or until golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then wrap it in a clean tea-towel to soften the crust. Serve warm or allow to cool completely. Cut into wedges to serve.
The bread can be kept in a plastic bag for up to 2 days.