There’s nothing more delicious than freshly baked bread — especially when paired with simple ingredients. If you’re looking for a decidedly easy, but guaranteed to impress dish to bring to your next picnic, dinner party or festive affair, try out this step-by-step recipe by Instagram sensation, Jessica Nguyen.
Jessica Nguyen is a home cook and food creative living in Melbourne/Naarm, whose mission is to inspire people to cook, drink and throw parties at home for themselves and for the people around them.
Skill Level: Easy
Makes: 1 Large Focaccia
Time: 40 mins, plus 3 hours of rising time
- 2.5 cups (750ml) of warm tap water
- 2 teaspoons of honey or sugar
- 7g (2.5 teaspoons) of dry active yeast
- 625g (5 cups) of plain flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of olive oil, plus extra for greasing the tray
- 1 small bunch of your choice of soft leaf herbs: basil, parsley, oregano, thyme
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 generous pinch of flakey salt
- Fill a medium bowl with the warm water (40 degrees, body temp) and dissolve your honey/sugar into the water. Sugar helps activate the yeast, giving it something to feed on.
- Whisk in your yeast and then allow to stand for 10 minutes or until you start seeing the top of the mixture start to become creamy, frothy and bubbly.
- Meanwhile, place your flour and salt into a large bowl and mix.
- Pour your yeast mixture into the bowl with the flour and salt and use a spatula to mix until you get a rough, shaggy dough.
- Generously oil a large dish or pot and transfer your dough into it. Now gather up the edges of the dough farthest from you and lift up and over into the centre of the tray. Give the tray a quarter turn and repeat the ‘stretch and fold’ process for a few revolutions.
- Cover with a tea towel or lid and allow to rest in a warm spot for about 3 hours or until it has doubled in size.
- Grease a large baking tray (30 x 20cm) and then transfer your dough to the tray.
- Again, do some ‘stretch and folds’ to your dough for another few revolutions, and then use your fingers to gently spread the dough out in the pan. Allow to rest for another 30 minutes to an hour, or until the dough has expanded to the entire surface of the pan.
- Meanwhile, place your garlic, herbs, salt and oil into a food processor and blitz until you get chunky herb pesto-like sauce. Use a spoon to mix it around, adding oil to make it saucy.
10. Transfer the herb paste onto the top of the dough and use your fingers to slather the paste all over the top.
11. Make dimples all over with your fingers to infuse the herb paste into your dough.
12. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of flakey salt and then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until fully cooked in the centre and golden brown on the outside.
13. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cut into slices and enjoy warm! For more delicious recipes, click here.