For the dough:
- 400 grams Italian bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp dried instant yeast
- 290 grams warm water
- 20 grams olive oil
For the second proof:
- 150 grams olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- bunch of fresh rosemary or sage
- 1 tsp flaked sea salt plus more for sprinkling
- Mix the flour, salt, and yeast together in a large bowl
- Add the warm water and olive oil and mix together into a smooth dough
- Cover and prove for about 1 hour, folding every 20 mins
- Put the olive oil, garlic, and flaked sea salt into a separate large bowl, and add some picked rosemary or sage leaves
- Form the dough into a ball, place it into the bowl with the olive-oil mixture and roll it around to coat it, before leaving it in the mixture to prove for another hour
- Gently tip the dough and oil mixture into a high-sided baking tray about 20 x 30 cm, and use your fingers to prod and push it so it’s spread reasonably evenly across the base of the tray right into the corners. If it won’t spread out all in one go, rest the dough for 5 mins and try again. Make sure any rosemary or sage leaves are tucked underneath the dough and not on the top surface where they will burn when baked.
- Leave to prove in the baking tray for another 45 mins to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 220C
- Make holes in the dough by pressing your finger all the way down to the base of the tin in rows every 4-5 cm, and decorate by putting tips of rosemary sprigs into some of the holes
- Bake for about 20 mins until the top surface is lightly browned
- Lift the focaccia out of the tin onto a cooling rack and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.
If you can find it, use Italian “00” bread flour (grana tenero), which is softer and more stretchy than normal bread flour. If you can’t find it, use half-and-half plain flour and bread flour.
This dough recipe can also be used for pizza, though you might want to cut back on the water a bit (to about 275 grams) to make it easier to handle!: After the first proof, divide into three equal sized pieces and roll into tight balls. Leave the balls of dough on a floured worksurface to prove for 30mins, then use your fingers to press and stretch them out into rustic Neapolitan style pizza bases, or roll them out with a rolling pin for thin and crispy. Add toppings and bake in the hottest oven you can manage.