Focaccia was one of the first breads I learnt to bake, and it remains a firm favourite as it always seems to turn out so well. Focaccia is a good bread for first time bakers as it requires next to no shaping (you just shove it in a tin) and can take on loads of different toppings and flavours.
I have added herbs to my actual dough here, as well as on the top, to give my loaf loads of extra flavour. Herb wise, I have gone for lemon thyme and rosemary, as they are my favourites, but if you can't get your hands on the lemon stuff, regular thyme will work just as well.
Makes one large loaf.
For the focaccia:
500g strong white flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 sprig lemon thyme
For the topping:
1 sprig lemon thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place the flour into a large bowl and rub in the yeast.
Add the dried rosemary and the leaves from the lemon thyme.
Add the salt, water and oil and mix to form a dough (adding more water if it feels a little dry).
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until it feels smooth and elastic.
Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel.
Leave the dough to rise for around an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Lightly oil a large round cake tin (or just a round or rectangle baking tray, if you don't have one).
When the dough has risen, place it into your prepared tin, stretching it out a little until it reaches the corners.
Cover the dough again with a tea towel, and leave to rise for about half an hour, or until it has noticeably puffed up.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees c.
When the dough has risen, make holes in the surface with your knuckles and sprinkle over the herbs.
Drizzle over the olive oil and then spirinkle over the salt.
Bake for around 20 minutes, or until the surface is a nice golden brown.
Leave to cool in the tin slightly before serving.