I love this Italian bread. It’s quick and simple to make and tastes lovely. There are dozens of variations, and it’s the perfect bread for the party.

Makes 2 loaves

25 g (1 oz) fresh yeast
300 ml (1/2 pint) tepid water
50 ml (2 fl oz) olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon flaked salt
420–480 g (14 1/2 –16 1/2 oz) strong bread flour
olive oil and flaked salt for the tray and for the baking

  1. Crumble the yeast into a bowl and dissolve it in the water, olive oil, honey and flaked salt. 
  2. Add the flour a little at a time, work it into a dough and knead for about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave the dough to prove for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. 
  4. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and divide it in two. Knead and shape each piece into a ball, then flatten to about 1 cm (1/2 in) thick. 
  5. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with flaked salt. Put the focaccias on the baking sheet and cover with a tea towel. Leave to prove for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size. 
  6. Push your fingers into the dough to make holes. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with flaked salt. Add any other flavour that you like (olives, rosemary, potato etc). 
  7. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Tags  A piece of cake Bread focaccia