Herby gooseberry focaccia
- June 2019
- Serves 10
- Hands-on time 35 min, oven time 30 min, plus 1 hour 20 min rising and proving
This focaccia is everything you need from a bread. It’s laced with olive oil so there’s no need to butter it, and the sweetness from the jammy gooseberries makes the focaccia a wonderful partner for a mature, hard cheese or some cured meats.
This focaccia is a picnic must-have, take a look at lots more picnic recipes; to accompany the bread.
- 18.9g (7.8g saturated)
- 39.1g (1.2g sugars)
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 7g sachet dried yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- A few sprigs each fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
- ½ garlic bulb, broken into cloves (unpeeled)
- 175g fresh gooseberries (see tip)
- Mature cheddar or other hard cheese, or sliced cured meat to serve (optional)
You’ll also need…
- Large baking tray or roasting tray (about 25cm x 35cm), lightly greased with oil; pestle and mortar
- In a large bowl, mix the flour with ½ tbsp of the sea salt. In a large measuring jug, mix the yeast, sugar and 350ml tepid water. Pour in tbsp of the oil, whisk with a fork and set aside for 5 minutes. Make a well in the flour, then slowly pour in the yeast mixture, stirring gently with the fork. Keep mixing until all the water is incorporated, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
- Clean the mixing bowl, lightly oil it and put the dough inside. Dust the top with a little flour and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size (see Make Ahead).
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. When the dough has risen, pick the leaves from the herbs and crush in a pestle and mortar with the remaining salt until lightly broken down and bruised. Add the unpeeled garlic, crush lightly, then mix in the remaining 4 tbsp olive oil.
- Turn out the dough onto the worktop and knead gently once or twice to knock out the air. Push the dough into the prepared baking/roasting tray, working it all the way to the edges to give a thin layer. Using your fingers, prod the dough all over to make indents in the surface. Poke in the gooseberries, then drizzle with the herbs, garlic and oil mixture, rubbing it gently all over to coat. Leave to prove at room temperature for 20 minutes (see Make Ahead), then bake for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through.
- Once baked, finish the bread with one more generous drizzle of olive oil, then leave to cool. Serve the focaccia with slices of cheese and cured meats, if you like.
Prove the dough overnight in the fridge (in the tin), then bake in the morning so it’s fresh on the day. If you’re making and baking the focaccia the day before, wrap it in cling film to keep it as fresh as possible.
If you can’t find fresh gooseberries, use tinned instead. Just drain and pat them dry before using.
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