Italian bread for sharing

Arlene Thompson. INLT 16-611-CON
Arlene Thompson. INLT 16-611-CON

There was a full class baking bread at Carrickfergus Cookery School, Carrick YMCA last week.

They made this fantastic rosemary and garlic focaccia bread which is brilliant for a crowd at a party or BBQ, and as a sharing starter.

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

1kg strong white bread flour

625ml tepid water

3 x 7g sachets yeast

2 level tablespoons sugar

1 level tablespoon salt

4-6 sprigs fresh rosemary

Sea salt

3 cloves garlic, peeled

Extra virgin olive oil

100g parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Sieve flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour half the water into the well, then add yeast, sugar and salt and stir. Gradually bring in flour until you get a porridge consistency-then add remaining water and mix until it all comes together.

2. Flour a clean work surface, hands and start kneading dough for 5-6 minutes until silky and elastic.

3. Place dough into large bowl and flour the top and cover with cling film or a damp cloth. Place bowl in a warm place to prove for about 30 minutes-it should double in size. Meanwhile sprinkle a baking tray (26x36c.m) with flour.

4. Once dough has doubled in size, knock air out by kneading again for 30 seconds. Roll and shape into baking tin. Leave to prove again for another 30 mins.

5. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/350 F/ Gas 4. Reserve a sprig of rosemary. Pick the leaves from remaining rosemary and place in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of salt and t garlic.Bash until it resembles a paste and then mix in about 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

6. When dough has risen, use finger tips to make small holes in dough. Drizzle over the mixture and push small sprigs of rosemary into holes. Sprinkle over grated parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes. Cool for a few minutes and then enjoy.