I am not a baker, nor a bread-maker.
But this bread is so simple even I can do it. And therefore so can you. After 15 years with gluten intolerance I have all but given up bread as the commercial loaves are not much better than they were when I started eating them or they cost an arm and leg for 5 slices of bread. Plus, carbs (are evil). So I have taken to baking this once in a while when I feel like the comforting smell of warm bread in the house, or want to test out a new batch of nut butter, hummus, tapenade or jam. If you are a sufferer of gluten intolerance or celiacs disease, you'll be well acquainted with the bleached white colour of the flour blends available on the market, and while I have made valiant attempts to find a good wholemeal GF all purpose flour that is readily available, I have more recently resorted to adding many seeds to my bread and brushing the top with olive oil to brown it in the oven. If you like the sound of that, I suggest you try the variation at the end of the recipe. On the other hand, freshly baked white, crusty foccacia with a fully loaded snack board and some wine in a garden or by a pool screams ultimate summer serenity to me. You choose, or try both and please let me know what you think in the comments below.
But now, let's bake, hey?
(Gluten Free)dom Focaccia
- 250 gm all purpose GF flour, plus extra for the baking sheet
- 9gm GF dry yeast
- Pinch of Maldon sea salt, plus extra for the top of the bread
- 200ml warm water
- 1 flax egg (2 tbsp flaxseed meal soaked in 3 tbsp water for 5 mins)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing on top
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- In a glass or plastic bowl, sift the flour and add the salt and yeast then stir together with a fork or whisk.
- Add olive oil, water and flax egg and give it a good mix using some elbow grease, form into a rough ball.
- Leave the bowl in a warm spot for 30-60 minutes to rise, cover with a damp tea towel.
- Preheat oven to 190ºC.
- On a baking sheet, lightly oil the tray then sprinkle some flour over the oil to prevent the bread sticking.
- Once risen the dough should be slightly sticky, but pretty malleable. Dust your hands with a little flour to make handling the dough easier. Pop the ball of dough in the centre of the tray, and using your fingertips, gently stretch the bread towards the corners of the tray, forming a 2 inch thick, rectangle shaped foccacia. Once you are happy with the shape, use your middle knuckles to poke dents into the bread, evenly all over the top.
- Brush the bread with olive oil and dot the bread with rosemary sprigs and sprinkle over some sea salt. Leave to rise again for 10 minutes or so.
- Pop into the oven for 20 minutes, test for doneness by poking with a toothpick and pressing the top to feel if it springs back. It may feel a bit hard and crusty on top, but don’t worry, it will be light and fluffy inside and a little bit of crust is a good thing.
Add extra seeds if you prefer a grainy loaf rather than a thin foccacia. I use pepitas, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds whole or meal, ground wattleseeds, sesame seeds. Add up to 1/4 cup to the mixture and when you are shaping the loaf make it a little longer and higher, like a huge bread roll, run your knife diagonally over the top of the bread in wide slices, brush with oil and sprinkle with more seeds, rosemary and/or sea salt. Cook for 20-30 mins.
Enjoy this bread with a snack board of fresh spring salads, lots of pickled or grilled veggies, olive tapenade or creamy cashew camembert and perhaps a cheeky glass of dry white wine or a good cava. Ps. It also works as a pizza base!