We go through phases, but in general we get through quite a bit of bread in our household. Toast is such an easy breakfast that we all enjoy, plus we have sandwiches sometimes for lunch. I often think I should make bread a bit more often, and I do love the taste when I do, but I often find we don’t eat quite enough when it is first made and it doesn’t taste as good after a day to feel worth the effort. This lemon and thyme focaccia is the exception to that as we had some fantastic, fairly huge sandwiches from one of the loaves when it was first made, then the extra loaf went in the freezer as soon as it had cooled, ready to come out, be heated and used another time. No part-loaves left around at all, and it was delicious as well.
Focaccia is a very versatile bread to make as you can dress it up simple like this, or with more extravagant toppings. Aromatic flavors work really well, which is why lemon and thyme seemed a good choice, and it was. The recipe makes two small loaves, each one big enough for around 2-3 good-sized sandwiches or it will also be good in chunks alongside soup, or simply dipped in good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar to nibble with cheese or whatever else you fancy.
While it takes a bit of time to make as with most breads, most of that is letting it rise so there’s plenty of time in between to do other things, you just need to keep an eye on it. Some focaccia recipes use just plain flour but others use semolina flour as well as I decided to here as it gives things a nice taste which I like. Feel free to just use plain flour if you don’t have any, though I would suggest giving it a go this way if you can. When baking, do check after around 15 minutes as it may cook a bit quicker depending on your oven. Focaccia is a relatively thin loaf (you can have it a bit more airy than I did but I think either my yeast wasn’t as great as some and/or I rushed a little at the end) so it doesn’t take long to bake, and the result is lots of nice crispy crust as well.
Focaccia to me always feels like a more summery bread, probably as I like to enjoy it either with very Mediterranean fillings as a sandwich or dipped in a good olive oil, both of which I associate with warmer climates. When I made this we had some delicious sandwiches with it, spread with homemade pesto and filled with fresh mozzarella, tomato and prosciutto. With the fresh, tasty focaccia, it was all incredibly delicious, and definitely worth the effort of making the bread. Maybe I’ll make it more often after all.
Lightly fragrant, soft and delicious, this loaf makes the perfect bread for dipping or base for a sandwich.
- 3/4 oz dried active yeast 7g, 1 packet (instant yeast)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/4 cup water 300ml, warm
- 3 cups bread flour 430g
- 1/2 cup semolina flour 90g
- 1 tsp fresh thyme chopped, plus more for top
- 1/2 lemon zest ie zest from 1/2 lemon or 1 if small
- 1/2 tsp salt or up to 1tsp max
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Mix yeast, sugar and water so that the sugar and yeast dissolve then allow to sit until the mixture bubbles, around 5-10min.
Meanwhile, mIx flours, thyme, lemon zest and once bubbled-up, add the yeast water. Mix to combine, tip out onto a floured surface and knead for around 5 min (stretching the dough out, folding over, turning 90 degrees and repeating) until the dough is no longer sticky.
Lightly oil a large bowl, put the dough in and leave to prove for around 30 min until it has doubled in size.
Tip out the dough, press down to take out the air, divide in two (if you want two loaves) and form slightly as you prefer.
Lay on oiled tray(s) then allow to rise again for around 20min.
Preheat oven to 425F/210C.
Make finger marks on top, sprinkle on some more thyme, and a little salt, and drizzle over the oil.
Bake for approx 20min until golden on top and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool a few minutes before cutting.