Easy Focaccia Bread with Cherry Tomatoes and Thyme
Focaccia bread is easier to make than you think - give the dough plenty of time to rest and you'll be rewarded with a soft, fluffy tear and share bread that no-one will be able to resist!
- 500 G Strong White Flour
- 1 7G Sachet fast action yeast
- 8 G Salt
- 350-400 ML Tepid Water
- 40 G Garlic Olive oil, Or regular Olive Oil
- 100 G Fresh Cherry Tomatoes
- A small bunch of Fresh Thyme Leaves picked
- More Olive Oil, for drizzling over the Focaccia
- Sea Salt Flakes
Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast and salt at opposite sides of the bowl (Placing salt directly on top of yeast can stop it from working.)
Pour the water and the garlic oil over the flour and using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix together. It will seem far too wet and you may think you've added to much water, but don't worry! It's meant to be this way. Once you have a very wet dough, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes in a warm place. Turn out onto a lightly oiled work surface and knead for at least 10 minutes. Sadly, my arthritic hands can no longer cope with kneading by hand, so I use my much loved KitchenAid.Don't be tempted to add more flour - it will change the texture of the bread. Place dough back in the bowl and leave to rest for 1-2 hours or until almost doubled in size.
When the dough has almost doubled in size, tip out onto a large baking tray which you have drizzled with olive oil. The dough will start to deflate. Lightly oil your hands and fold the dough in half a couple of times. This should help it hold its shape a little. Flatten the dough out with your hands, trying, to get the dough to reach right to the edges of the tray. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for 45 minutes or until doubled in size again.
Preheat the oven to 220/200Fan/425F/Gas mark 8.
When the dough has proved, poke dimples into the dough using your fingers. You need to press down quite firm - no need to be gentle! The more dimples, the better! Place the halved cherry tomatoes into the dimples, scatter over the thyme leaves, drizzle with a little more garlic oil and scatter over some sea salt. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden on top and underneath.
Sprinkle over some more sea salt and drizzle with more olive oil before serving.
For a crunchy base, sprinkle the baking tray with semolina.