I’d wanted to try making homemade focaccia bread for a long time. Turns out, it’s actually one of the easiest bread recipes i’ve ever made! It is actually a little more oily than i’d realised before i’d made it and that’s one great thing of making something from scratch so you truly understand what’s in there. The little indentations in the focaccia bread collect the herby flavour and prevent it from rising too much as it bakes – dunk it in oil or serve it as a sandwich bread, lovely!
How to make homemade focaccia bread
First up lets create the baste for the focaccia and drive some flavour into it. In a saucepan add the rosemary, oil and a good pinch of pepper. Cook over a medium low heat stirring constantly for 3 minutes or so, then add the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes – do not burn the garlic or brown it too much as it gets baked again later. We just want to cook it so it’s all smelling nice. Remove from the heat and allow to cool (I put mine in a jug to cool quicker rather than leaving in the pan which can keep cooking the garlic).
Now we make the dough, get a large bowl and add the honey, water, and yeast. Give it a mix to incorporate and leave it for 10 minutes, it should foam up a bit and get the yeast going with a few bubbles.
Take half of the plain flour and half of the cooled oil mixture into a large bowl then pour in the honey yeast mixture. Give it a all a good mix together until combined. Slowly add in the rest of the flour in batches with a pinch of salt. As you add the flour the dough will get dryer and come together more like a classic dough. Transfer to a floured board and knead until smooth, if it is still wet, keep adding small amounts of flour as kneaded until the mixture is tacky (not sticky), smooth and easy to shape. Knead it for a good 5 minutes.
Put the dough in a clean bowl that has been slightly oiled and cover with a damp cloth or clingfilm for an hour or until at least doubled in size.
When it’s doubled, get your oven hot. Warm it to 210fan/230c/450f (aka hot!). Add the other 1.5tbsp olive oil to a large 30cm baking tray, ensuring it is covered all over.
Add the dough into the pan and push it into the sides / corners ensuring it is even all over and flat. Use a wooden spoon handle or fingers to make holes in the dough, this stops the bread rising too much and becomes pockets for the flavour. Drizzle over the remaining oil and rosemary mixture filling the holes and spreading it around evenly.
Bake for approx 15 minutes or until golden brown, allow to cool on a rack before slicing up and serving! Super good!