Celebrate Real Bread Week with this delicious and simple-to-make rosemary focaccia
There were few silver linings to 2020, but it did instil in many of us a renewed passion for baking.
With far more hours spent in the home and for some, more time on our hands, baking became a therapeutic and rewarding pastime, particularly with cafes and restaurants closed.
And now, we have another great excuse to be creative in the kitchen: Real Bread Week, which runs from 20th-28th February.
Created in 2010 by the Real Bread Campaign, the event aims to encourage people to not only buy local bread from independent bakeries but to bake their own bread too.
“We’re working towards a future in which everyone has the chance to choose real bread, whether skilfully crafted by a local baker or lovingly made at home,” says Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young.
This year many classes and bread-related social events will take place online and the Campaign also encourages people to share their baking experiences via social media with photos of themselves with bread they’ve either baked or bought locally. Last year saw more than 2,000 posts from at least 37 countries.
To find out more visit www.realbreadcampaign.org
To celebrate Real Bread Week, why not try this scrumptious rosemary focaccia bread, which goes perfectly with a hearty homemade lasagne. Serves 12.
500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g dried fast-action yeast
2 tsp fine sea salt
5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the tin and to serve
1 tsp flaky sea salt
¼ small bunch of rosemary, sprigs picked
1 Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Mix the yeast into one side of the flour, and the fine salt into the other side. Then mix everything together.
2 Make a well in the middle of the flour and add 2 tbsp oil and 350-400ml lukewarm water, adding it gradually until you have a slightly sticky dough (you may not need all the water). Sprinkle the work surface with flour and tip the dough onto it, scraping around the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5-10 mins until your dough is soft and less sticky. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 1 hour until doubled in size.
3 Oil a rectangular shallow tin (25 x 35cm). Tip the dough onto the work surface, then stretch it to fill the tin. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for another 35-45 mins.
4 Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 (or the baking oven in an Aga). Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples. Mix together 1.5 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp water and the flaky salt and drizzle over the bread. Push sprigs of rosemary into the dimples in the dough.
5 Bake for 20 mins until golden. Whilst the bread is still hot, drizzle over 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold, with extra olive oil if you fancy.