Dan Lepard's focaccia

Sea salt and rosemary focaccia.
Sea salt and rosemary focaccia. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Vegetarian

When you make a quick yeast dough, the flavour can be a bit basic and flat. Artisan bakers might add sourdough starter to improve the taste. But if you don't have a starter, a slosh of white wine, kefir, or any liquid that has a slightly astringent and perky flavour will help the overall munchability of the crust and crumb.

Ingredients

about 250g warm water

100g white wine, thin milk kefir or extra water

7g sachet fast-action yeast

500g strong white flour

10g fine salt

olive oil

sea salt flakes or more fine salt

cornmeal, optional

rosemary leaves, optional

Method

1. Put the warm water and wine or kefir in a mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast. Add the flour then mix everything together vigorously by hand, into a soft sticky dough, rubbing away any lumps with your fingers.

2. Leave for 10 minutes then sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead it in well for a few minutes. Leave it to rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.

3. Liberally oil a 20 centimetres by 30 centimetres lipped baking tray and, with oiled hands, scoop the dough onto the tray. Dimple the dough with your fingertips without flattening it, then stretch and fold the dough in upon itself by thirds, as if you are folding a towel. Put the dough back in the bowl, put the tray on top of the bowl to cover it, then leave for another 30 minutes. Repeat the dimpling and folding process three more times at 30-minute intervals until the dough looks puffy and filled with bubbles. Then leave the dough for about an hour to double in size.

4. Oil the baking tray generously again, lift the dough onto it and dimple it outward so it covers half the tray, leaving a clear margin of tray on all four sides. Pat oil evenly over the top then leave for one hour. This will allow the dough to rise and become effortlessly stretchy for the next step.

5. Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Dimple the dough then stretch it out to the edges of the tray. Sprinkle with salt flakes, cornmeal and rosemary then leave to rise for 15 minutes. Make random deep dimples in the dough with your fingertips then bake for about 30 minutes until golden and just beginning to darken in areas. Leave to cool on a wire rack to keep it crisp.

Tip: Use this dough to make Dan's tarte flambee with cheese, onion and bacon.