Fragrant rosemary & kalamata olive focaccia

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This is a flavoursome, soft focaccia recipe that smells absolutely mouth-watering while it bakes! Get creative with the toppings! This focaccia is your oyster.

We took this on a family picnic to the beach, and was delicious with cold meats and fresh tomato. Β I think it would make a lovely gift as well.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

You will need…

for the focaccia –

3 + 1/2 cups white flour (525g)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp yeast

1 tsp rosemary (I used fresh, torn-up rosemary leaves. You could also use dried Italian herbs)

330 mL + 2 tbsp Β lukewarm water (1 + 1/3 cups)

1 tsp yeast

1/2 teaspoon caster sugar

for the topping

1/2 cup halved Kalamata olives, pits removed

ground cumin for sprinkling

coarse sea salt for sprinkling

extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

cracked pepper

1 sprig of rosemary (use as much as possible, basically- I LOVE rosemary!)

Activate your yeast in a cup of some of the water, and add the sugar to this.

In your bread machine mixer, add in order – flour & salt, then rest of water and yeast mixture. Mix for 3-4 minutes on the dough setting- until the dough comes away from the sides. If there isn’t enough liquid in the dough, now is the time to add more (and you might need to!). Rest for 15 minutes, then mix again for 3-5 minutes until the dough appears smooth and has an elastic texture.

Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil, and place the dough in it. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm area. It must double in size – so leave for anywhere between one to one and a half hours.

Once that’s done, shape your dough into a roughly rectangular shape on a floured surface. Lightly oil a baking sheet on a baking tray. Gently place the dough on it, cover with a clean cloth, leave for 30 minutes until it has increased in size by half. While this is happening, preheat your oven to as high as it goes – I did 250 degrees Celsius.

Once the dough has risen, make small imprints with your finger for the olives to go in. Make sure they are pushed well in, but still be gentle! You don’t want to push all the air out. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt & cumin, and scatter the rosemary. Grind some pepper. Be generous with your toppings! The more the merrier.

Place in the oven and immediately decrease to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Farenheit). Bake for 25-30 minutes, until its golden. I baked for 25 then placed under the browning setting (basically the grill) for 1 minute, and came out perfectly golden!

Serve warm, or take it along to a picnic, friend’s house, wherever you go. It is so delicious! Enjoy.

some ideas- you could top with cheese, capsicum… You could use different herbs – whatever’s handy, or whatever is your favourite. Eat with a nice olive oil and dukkah, or with some nice cheeses and wine. So versatile! So tasty!

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