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Three malts focaccia with fennel


300g Organic Three Malts & Sunflower Brown Flour
200g Strong White bread flour
10g fine salt
10g fennel seed
325 ml warm water
I tbsp olive oil
7g active dried yeast

To be added before putting into the oven
Sun dried tomatoes
Chopped rosemary leaves or dried rosemary
Some sea salt
Olive oil

Preparation method

Stage 1
Put 300g Organic Three Malts & Sunflower Brown Flour and 200g Strong White Bread Flour in the mixing bowl of a food mixer and add the salt and the fennel seed.

In a separate bowl stir a teaspoon of sugar into 325 ml of warm water and then stir in the dried yeast powder and allow it to come to life.

Then mix the yeasty water with the flour and, using a dough hook, mix the ingredients together at a low speed. As the dough begins to take shape add the tbsp of olive oil.

When all the ingredients are safely in the bowl allow the mixer to ‘knead’ the mix for about ten minutes by which time it should have turned into a coherent dough. Recipes which use only White Bread Flour can produce a smoother dough but using the Three Malts mix leads to a slightly coarser dough. It may be necessary to add a tbsp or so of extra water to get things to a consistency that you are happy with.

Turn the dough out on to an oiled baking board/work surface. Put some olive oil on your hands and shape the dough into a round before putting it into a clean, oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film (or a stretchy plastic cover) and leave the dough to double in size. Depending on the ambient temperature this may take about 45-60 minutes.

Stage 2
Line a shallow baking tray with non-stick baking parchment. (With this amount of dough either a 20cm x 35cm or 24cm x 33cm baking tray works well). It’s possible to grease the tray with olive oil, but I find that using non-stick baking parchment means the baked bread doesn’t stick to the edges of the trays.

Turn out the dough and gently flatten it into a rectangular shape, then place the dough into the baking tray.

Cover the tray with its dough with a plastic bag, and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising preheat the oven to 2200C (or higher if your oven goes up to 2500C).

Stage 3
When the bread has risen use your finger to create deep holes across the dough. Using scissors cut up pieces of sun dried tomatoes and press pieces into the holes in the dough, (alternatively you can press sliced cherry tomatoes into the dough).

Strip some leaves off a stalk of fresh rosemary and chop up the leaves. Then scatter some of the fresh rosemary across the dough. If fresh rosemary isn’t available, then some dried rosemary also works.

Sprinkle some sea salt flakes over the dough.

Sprinkle the dough with olive oil without drenching it.

• Bake at 220C (or 250C) for 10 minutes

• Turn oven down to 200C and allow to bake for another 10 minutes

• Then leave on a wire rack to cool for another 10 minutes before eating.

This variety of focaccia is good to eat whilst warm with cheese of a slice of ham.

If there’s any left over, it can be revitalised the next day by slicing it open, injecting a bit of cheese and briefly warming it in a microwave for a minute and a half.