Back in February I made focaccia, to accompany Snow day soup, successfully for the first time. Then later on in February I attended a course with Dan Stevens & Aiden Chapman at River Cottage to learn the art of bread making. Between Hubby & I we made so much bread on the course, which was stashed in the freezer, it is only now I’ve really been able to put the skills I learnt at River Cottage into practice. One of the biggest things I learnt on the course was that I was relying on my mixer to do all the work and not kneading the dough for long enough.

While down at River Cottage we popped to The Town Mill, Lyme Regis, a water-powered flour mill. There we were able to purchase some wholemeal flour that had been ground of the premises using the old grinding stones. The organic grain for grinding came from Tamarisk Farm

I’ve been waiting for us to finish our bread stash so I could try out this flour. I wasn’t brave enough to make a loaf with 100% wholemeal so to make the focaccia I used 3/4 strong bread flour and 1/4 of this Town Mill flour. Like usual the the foccacia baked really well and the Town Mill flour certainly gave depth to the flavour.

Another ingredient I’ve also discovered recently is Maldon’s flakey Sea Salt. I’d seen it before in shops, but couldn’t see how and expensive salt could be so significantly different to ‘normal’ salt. Back in the new year while eating at friends she had used it on her cooking, then I suddenly understood why it is so good. I now use it on focaccia and a few other things. You only need a small amount of it so it lasts a long time.

Like all bread baking I do I’ll be submitting this to the wonderful & inspiring yeastspotting.

Makes 1 large foccacia
From River Cottage – Bread

500g strong white bread flour
5g fast action yeast
10g fine salt
325ml warm water (mix 100ml boiling water with 225ml of cold water)
1 tbsp olive oil
flaky sea salt

1) Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and water. Once the ingredients are combined add the olive oil. Knead for around 10 min until the dough is smooth and silky. At the stage, if using a mixer, the bowl should be clean of dough.

2) Shape the dough into a round and leave to rise in a covered and greased bowl until it has nearly doubled in size.

3) Tip the dough out and work in a rough rectangle shape then place in an oiled baking tray. Cover and allow to rise for 20 min.

4) Preheat the oven to 250oc (or as high as it will go). When the bread has had its half hour rise prod it with your fingers to get the cratered texture, drizzle generously with olive oil then sprinkle with salt & rosemary.

5) Bake for 10 min then bake for a further 10min at 200oc. Leave to cool on a wire rack for around 10 min before serving.

Published by Jules

Professional Food Geek who loves a freshly baked loaf.