Focaccia bread

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

A lockdown favourite, you can't go wrong with this crispy (practically fried) bread. The options for toppings are endless whether it's a classic rosemary and garlic, or you want to go all out and make a pizza out of it!

1 pack instant yeast (about 10g or 2 tsp)

3 cups lukewarm water

2 Tbsp salt

6 cups flour

Extra virgin olive oil (this is the main flavour of the bread, so make sure it's a good one! There are plenty of times in my recipes where budget brands will work, this is not one of them)

Flaky sea salt

Place the yeast and warm water in a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer. Give it a whisk then set aside for 10 minutes to activate.

After 10 minutes, add salt and flour to bowl and then place the dough hook attachment on your mixer. Mix for 10 minutes, until the dough looks soft and has come together. It is a very wet dough, so don't expect it to come away from the bowl easily. Give it a scrape with a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.

Get a large bowl (I mean large as the dough will grow!) and add about 1/4 cup oil to the bowl, making sure to swish it around the sides, coating the whole bowl. Transfer your dough to greased bowl and cover with cling film, leave to rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in size (taking a picture of it helps for reference). If you are wanting to prepare this in advance, you can now put it in the fridge to rise overnight.

Grease an oven tray or rectangular cake tin with your olive oil. Transfer dough to pan (along with any oil that was in the bowl) and give it a little stretch to fill the pan. Cover and set aside for 45 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180°C.

Now's the fun part - dimpling the dough! Put some oil on your fingers and press into the dough with your fingertips, creating dimples and beautiful little pockets for the oil to sit. When you're happy with how it looks, you can drizzle with a little more oil if needed. Then add your toppings such as sesame seeds, herbs or garlic or cheese. If you want to make a pizza, don't put these toppings on yet, we need to pre-bake it.

Bake the focaccia for 20-25 minutes, until golden and crisp. If you want to make a pizza, add pizza sauce, cheese and your other desired toppings and return to oven for 5 more minutes, until cheese has melted. Sprinkle with flaky salt for the final flourish.

Cut a slice and enjoy!