Englishmum is running another bake-off and this time it's bread. How could I resist! Bread is one of the reasons this blog is called what it is and it is very much a game you can eat. It's so simple, quick and foolproof and is one of the things I make most often - either on my own or with my children helping. I'm a bit of a bread obsessive - I even have a paving slab to put in my oven to bake loaves and pizzas on.
My great-grandfather was a baker - family legend has it that he delivered bread to Sudeley Castle, near Winchcombe in the Cotswolds in the latter part of the 19th century and he is buried in the churchyard near the castle.
Focaccia is my favourite bread to bake to go with homemade soup. It's a simple, easy and quick bread and you can get on with making the soup while the bread rises. I love the way the olive oil pools deliciously in the indentations and mixes with the salt to form a lovely crispy crust flavoured with the spikes of rosemary.
500g bread flour
1 tsp salt
5g quick mix yeast
325ml warm water
Mix all of the ingredients in a mixer with a dough hook or knead together until smooth - adding a good big glug of extra virgin olive oil. This dough is quite soft, so kneading it is easier with a mixer.
Shape into a ball, put into the bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for about half an hour.
Then knead briefly and press into a baking tray - I use my brownie/flapjack tray. Push it out into a rough rectangular shape, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise again until puffed up. Turn your oven on to its hottest setting.
Use your fingers to push indentations in the dough - as many as you like. Then drizzle olive oil into the indentations. Scatter over sea salt and rosemary - chopped if you wish - then put into the oven for ten minutes. After 10 minutes turn the oven down to Gas Mark 6/200 degrees C until the focaccia sounds hollow when you tap it.
I normally cut it into fat fingers to serve.
|Press your fingers in to make indentations, drizzle over olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.|
|Bake until golden and aromatic. It should sound hollow when tapped.|
|The salt and oil give it a lovely crispy crust.|
|I usually cut it into fat fingers to serve.|