“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
There are many simple pleasures in life that will (step-by-step but) answer the big question of life: how to be happy? Fresh bread combined with good quality ham and a hearty, artisan cheese is certainly one of those priceless clues…
Focaccia … an epitome of Italian baking: crisp, brown crust, cheeky dimples with the liquid gold of olive oil giving humble, years old traditional foundation to the contemporary freshness of herbs. And under all this, one can find the romantically soft, pillow-like crumb that hugs the senses which each bite…
500 g strong white bread
2 tsp salt
20 g fresh yeast
2 tbsp olive
400 ml water
A handful of fresh, chopped mint, seeds
olive oil for drizzling, salt for topping
Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, mint, seeds and water into a large bowl. Gently stir to form a ball then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, then rest for ten minutes. After resting, stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre, and turning the bowl in the meantime. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. After that flatten it down and prove again for another hour.
Line two large baking sheets with grease-proof paper. Divide the dough into two portions. Flatten each portion onto a baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one hour. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Make marks on the top of the dough with fingers and drizzle the loaves with oil, sprinkle with fine sea salt then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. When cooked, drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve hot or warm.