20 minutes & 1.5 hours proofing
"Summer may be a little hit-and-miss in this country, but there are flavours that I always associate with this time of the year, holidays and the Mediterranean. That means that I can bring a little taste of summer into my home just by cooking and baking with these flavours even when it’s raining buckets outside and I have to wear woolly socks. Salt, olive oil and rosemary are just some of them."
I vividly remember childhood holidays in the South where the bread always seemed to taste better, be fluffier and never lasted very long because we would gobble it all up in record time. It didn’t have rosemary on it as far as I remember, but I do recall the texture and this is pretty much as close as I have ever managed to get to recreating it myself. If you fancy a simple and super-tasty bread recipe, then you might like this one. It does take a little time (all bread does) and will probably be eaten quicker than the time it takes to make, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Pour the warm water into a large bowl, add the sugar and then sprinkle the yeast on top, leave for around 10 minutes until the yeast starts to foam. Add the salt and olive oil and mix. Then add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon.
(Quick surface change as I don’t recommend kneading on a table cloth!)
Now take the dough out of the bowl and knead for a good ten minutes. If the dough is very sticky, add a tiny bit of extra flour, not too much though as it does need to be a little sticky! Once the dough is smooth and only slightly sticky, form it into a ball.
Grease a clean bowl with olive oil. Put the dough into the bowl and turn it so that it’s covered in the oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and a kitchen towel on top and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes.
Grease a baking form (rectangular, around 20x26cm) with olive oil, put the dough into the baking form and flatten to cover the form. Press some holes around half way through the dough all over the surface then cover and leave for another half hour to rise again.
Preheat your oven to 200°C (180C fan).
Crush the salt so that it’s just a little less lumpy. Uncover the baking tray, brush with olive oil, then sprinkle the rosemary and the salt on top.
Bake for 30 minutes until the surface is golden.
You can serve the bread whilst still warm (or leave it to cool completely) with a little butter, some olive oil or some balsamic vinegar for dipping. Bon Appétit!