Entertain your guests with this deliciously fragrant and fresh focaccia loaf. Loaded with zesty lemon and aromatic herbs this Italian bread is perfect for taking on picnics or ideal as a dipping starter served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Put the yeast in a jug with 300ml (1/2pt) warm water and pour it over the flour. Add 1 tbsp of the oil, then stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough.
- Knead the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes by hand or with an electric dough hook, gradually adding the lemon zest and thyme leaves. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Loosely cover with oiled clingfilm and leave somewhere warm for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Grease a large baking sheet with a little oil. Gently spread the dough out on the sheet, pushing it into the corners. Cover loosely and leave to prove somewhere warm for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
- Make dimples in the dough using your fingers and push in the rosemary sprigs. Drizzle over the remaining oil and scatter with the sea salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden. Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping, if you like.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a moderate oven.
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