Saturday, 6 October 2012

Rosemary & Onion Focaccia


There's nothing nicer than fresh bread, especially with a bowl of soup on a chilly day. We find that the best place to prove a loaf is by the side of our woodburning stove, so I tend to bake more in the autumn and winter.

Traditional methods tend to flavour focaccia by sprinkling herbs on to the surface just before baking, but I find you get a better result (and avoid everything falling off!) by spreading the seasoning through the dough. I make several variants of this recipe, including the more traditional garlic & rosemary (just use a few large cloves of garlic in place of the onion), but also substituting other herbs from time to time. Anything that can be chopped finely could be kneaded into the dough; I love olive bread and I'm sure olives would work well, but my husband isn't a fan so I haven't tried it.

This seems to be about the right quantity for two of us, with a bowl of soup, as a light meal. For a starter it might stretch to four, but honestly, it's so moreish that I just increase the quantities instead. Although it keeps okay for a day or so, you'll want to eat it fresh from the oven if you can.


Rosemary & Onion Focaccia
Serves 2

1tsp dried yeast
¼tsp sugar
6 fl.oz warm water
340g (12oz) strong white bread flour
¼ tsp table salt
2tbsp olive oil
2-3 sprigs rosemary
½ a small onion
2tsp coarse sea salt
Extra olive oil for drizzling
  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in about 1tbsp of the warm water, and set aside.
  2. Stir the table salt in to the flour, and make a well in the middle for the liquids.
  3. Once the yeast is frothy, add the yeast mixture, olive oil, and about half the water to the flour, and bring together with your (clean!) hands.
  4. Add more water, a little at a time, until a soft dough is formed.
  5. Knead for a few minutes (you can turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, or do as I do, and keep your kitchen tidier by making sure you have a large mixing bowl and kneading in the bowl).
  6. Cover the bowl and place somewhere warm for 30-40 minutes, until doubled in size. About 25-30°C is ideal.
  7. While the dough is rising, finely dice the onion, and chop the rosemary.
  8. Add the onion, rosemary, and half of the sea salt to the bowl. Knead for a couple of minutes to knock out the air bubbles and mix in the flavourings.
  9. Shape on a lightly greased baking tray, and set aside to rise for a further 30 minutes (back in the same warm spot is ideal).
  10. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  11. Just before baking, dimple the surface of the bread with your fingers. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on the remaining sea salt.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  13. Cool on a wire rack for at least a couple of minutes, before serving with another final drizzle of oil.


Anonymous said...

MMMMMMMM,..Your foccacio looks irresistable & appetizing too! :)
I just gave you an award, dear Rachel! Why? Come on over & read all about it!! xxx Congrats!

Rachel said...

It sounds truly delicious. And a woodburning stove is such a blissful thought at this time of year.

Debra said...

This looks delicious and beautiful! I have never tried focaccia! I think I am going to have to remedy that!

Susan Francino said...

YUM that looks SO GOOD. I love focaccia bread but have never tried to make it.

shrink on the couch said...

oooh looks divine. would do anything for a whiff.

Mike Harvey said...

I love the idea of making my own bread but my kitchen just doesn't seem to get warm enough most of the time. Once we get to the point where the heating is on all day I'll give it another go but even the birds wouldn't eat my last effort because it was so dense.

christine said...

oh how I wish I could still eat "real" bread!!!! I so used to enjoy it:)

Mike, you can prove bread dough overnight in the fridge and enjoy fresh bread for breakfast, it doesn't actually need warmth to rise, honest:)

becky said...

Mmmmm...mmmmmm....mmmmm! Such a nice, thick version of what I see in our neck of the woods as a flatish disc.

Mike Harvey said...

Hi Christine

I have it on very good authority that you know what you're talking about when it comes to baking so I'll give it a try. I have to admit that I find it hard to believe that one doesn't need warmth to get bread to rise though. My last effort referred to above was a sourdough so I suspect that wouldn't have helped when it comes to getting it to rise.

Charlotte Klein said...

I have been absolutely obsessed with olive bread ever since I found a place in town that makes the fluffiest rolls. This looks like a great base recipe I can use before adding in a few other variable ingredients (though I love the rosemary/garlic combo, too!). Thanks for this, Rachel!

Maggie W. said...

I am new to baking and have never heard of strong bread flour. What is that? Could you please explain what that is?

Rachel Cotterill said...

Hi Maggie, 'strong' flour has a higher gluten content, which makes it better for baking bread. You should be able to find it in any supermarket in the baking aisle.

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