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Olive & Herb Foccacia Bread
I absolutely love making bread - it is incredibly therapeutic and the kneaded dough is very satisfying! This loaf seems to feed loads of people and is ideal for a party. Also, if you grow your own herbs, take a trot round the garden and try out various - marjoram, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary, thyme are all my favourites. I also tend to rummage through my cupboards to see what else I can add, like sundried tomatoes, capers, anchovies, olives...anything goes in my book!
  1. Put your flour into a very large bowl.
  2. Place the yeast, sugar and salt in the warm water and pour into the centre of the flour.
  3. Gradually draw all the flour into the centre - it will be very gooey to start with and will eventually form a lumpy dough.
  4. Turn this lump of dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 10 mins. until the dough is really smooth and elastic.
  5. Place dough back in a clean/oiled bowl and set in a warm place to prove and double in size - about 45min/1 hour depending how warm it is.
  6. Slap the dough back so it shrinks and turn it out again onto a floured surface. Knead it a little and then start to roll the dough out into a large rectangle shape - it doesn't have to be straight sides at all - just long. In fact I prefer a rustic shape, so my loaves are a different shape every time I make them!
  7. Sprinkle the herbs/olives/toms and oil over the surface of the dough.
  8. Fold the dough over itself, encasing all the filling. Seal down the edges so the oil doesn't escape.
  9. Place dough onto a baking sheet and pop back in the warm place as before. Allow to prove for another 30 mins. or so, until the loaf has again doubled or got very much bigger.
  10. Pop into a warm oven - (190/No.) for about 35 mins. until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when you know the bottom.
  11. If you can bear to wait until it cools...tear it or slice it VERY THICKLY...dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar! enjoy......

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