Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia
The best thing about baking this bread is the aroma of rosemary and garlic which fills the kitchen. I use rosemary straight from my garden and at this time of year only the freshest new growth from the ends of the stems. Rosemary is so versatile and can be added to many dishes such as roast chicken, roast potatoes and vegetables. I add loads when making a stock and also add it to soups. It’s aromatic and beautiful and I wouldn’t be without this herb. Being blessed as I am with an Italian herb garden full of rosemary, I can pretty much rely on it to flavour my food all year round. At the moment it is a purple flowered bee heaven, but it is the fresh green sprigs I pick for culinary use.
Rosemary was the first herb that I wanted to plant in my Le Marche garden as it never thrived in my English garden. ‘Rosemary for remembrance’ they say and I do have a treasured memory linked to this herb about a lady who lived in my house many years ago. She sadly passed away last year but during our first weeks here, she would pass by, take my hands in her hands and kiss me on my cheek, then lead me around all the trees and plants she had planted twenty or so years before. On one such visit she openly scoffed at my small pot of rosemary I intended to plant somewhere. I needed no understanding of Italian as she led me a few paces down the road to a huge bush she had planted herself. The locals, she told me used to walk down here to pick sprigs to flavour their homemade proscuitto. Although I have indeed planted more rosemary I always use her plant in cooking as it grows in full sun and seems particularly aromatic.
- 350ml luke warm water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 650 g bread flour or Italian 0 flour
- 2tsp salt
- 2tsp sugar
- 2 7g sachets yeast
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 garlic cloves
- lots of rosemary sprigs
- sea salt
- Add to your bread machine in the above order and select dough function.
- Or mix by hand into smooth dough and allow to raise covered for an hour or so.
- Knead the dough until smooth, then roll out to fit a large baking tin. It is a very springy dough so needs some pulling and stretching to shape.
- Leave to rise for 40 minutes.
- With your knuckle make dents all over the surface.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Spread a few cloves of mashed garlic all over and then brush on lots of extra virgin olive oil
- Finally push the rosemary sprigs into the dough.
- Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for approx 25 minutes, until lightly golden.
- Slice into strips, triangles or simply tear and share with others. Add halved cherry tomatoes with the sprigs of rosemary if you wish.