Alio’s rosemary and sea salt focaccia

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A couple of weekends ago, Mr Chipconnoisseur’s sister, K, was visiting and we embarked on a full day of culinary exploration. We wandered around Woollahra shopping for produce at Jones the Grocer, picked up some lovely steaks and duck rilettes from Victor Churchill and admired all the cute things at Donna Hay’s General store in Holdsworth Street – K is a huge fan of hers.

We brought the bounty home and began working on the day’s supper. Having failed at my first bread attempt a while back (a chocolate spelt and sour cherry loaf sounded nice, but never made it to the blog because it tasted yuck), I enlisted K to make the focaccia.

But not just any focaccia, a rosemary and seasalt focaccia which I had the pleasure of tasting at Alio restuarant’s pasta class recently. Ashley Hughes, executuve chef at Alio and our friendly host on the day, generously provided the focaccia recipe in a goodie bag at the end of the class, and seeing first hand how easy it was to make, I knew I’d be surely be trying it at home. K’s visit seemed like the perfect excuse! PS Ashley’s sister Tracey was the one who got me hooked on the Mont Blanc

At home, K and I ended up making 2/3 of a batch because I forgot to check how much plain flour I had and we fell 200g short of the 900g requirement. Luckily K is an accountant by trade so we added, subtracted, divided and multiplied to get the ingredients and all of the ratios right. I’m please to say it worked. And the focaccia?

For something as basic as bread, the aroma that fills the house when the bread is placed in the oven is indescribably amzing. You can’t stop but smile at the single thought, that in 40 minutes the only thing better than smelling your loaves baking, will be you sharing it with others, tasting the freshly baked goodness of home made bread with rosemary, garlic and all. Crusty, fluffy , delicious and… still wonderfully warm.

Unfortunately, I have somehow lost all my camera photos of our focaccia, but thankfully I always take some extras with my phone:

Makes 2 loaves (we used 2 rectangular slice tins 28cm x 18cm)

Alio’s rosemary and sea salt focaccia

I shoud probably mention at this point that if you can get first pressings olive oil, it has a lovely dusty sediment still reminiscent of the fruit it was pressed from, you should. It’s the best. So fresh and full of fruitty flavour. Fresh rosemary is also a must, dried sprigs just don’t have the same intensity of flavour and aroma. Keep cooled, leftover focaccia in a zip lock plastic bag in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze leftover cooked loaves to have another day.

Unfortunately, I have somehow lost all my camera photos of our focaccia, but thankfully I always take some extras with my phone:

  • 25g fresh yeast // or 7g instant yeast
  • 25g honey
  • 600ml luke warm water
  • 900g plain flour
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 bunch rosemary
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil // or first pressings extra virgin olive oil
  • 25g table salt
  • sea salt to finish

To make the focaccia dough: Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add honey, yeast and warm water.

Working with your fingers, mix the yeast and water together. Once the yeast is dissolved, start to incoraporate the flour, a little at a time until the dough is formed.

First rising: knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball shape. Rub 1 tablespoon of oil into the surface of the dough – this will stop it from drying out. Cover the bowl with cling film.

Let the dough sit in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until it has roughly doubled in size.

To make the herb oil: place garlic, salt and 1-2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only, into a mortar and pestle. Pound until the herbs and garlic are well crushed. Add the remaining oil and set aside for the oil to infuse.

Second rising in the form: lightly grease your form(s) with oil. Once the dough has about doubled in size, knead it one more time but only for about 1 minute – you don’t want to overwork the dough as the bread will become hard. Cut dough in half, form a ball or a log and roll out on flouur dusted bench to fit your baking tray(s).

Drizzle a tablespoon of oil over the bread and cover with cling film. Allow to rise again for 30-45  minutes in a warm spot.

To prepare the bread for baking: preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced, 350F, gas mark 4).

Pour herb oil all over your bread(s), spreading herbs evenly. Push your fingers into the doug, about 3-4 cm apart as this is what will give the dough its characteristic ‘dimples’. Spray the bread with water – this stops the herbs from burning. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 35 minutes.

To serve: when ready, remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to stop it from steaming in the tray. Drizzle the focaccia with a little more oil and enjoy!

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Comments:

7 Responses to Alio’s rosemary and sea salt focaccia

  1. Oh you have me with this one! It looks delicious. Thank goodness for clever sister in laws…

  2. Simply beautiful and I love all the tips.

  3. this looks gorgeous! im sure it would be perfect if paired up with my fav soup:) yum! thank you for sharing this.

  4. muppy says:

    This looks really delicious. I love making bread and always much less then the recipe suggests.

  5. I love focaccia and this looks absolutely delicious!

    • Kylie says:

      Wow!!! This bread is amazing!!! Your recipe was so simple to follow and the end product was fantastic !!! This was my first attempt at home made bread and I’m now converted! Thank you!

  6. Walkative says:

    Love this recipe. Made it already many, many times and always turns out great! Thank you for sharing.

 

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