I did make this flat bread style recipe quite a while ago but I made it as an accompaniment to my previous post of homemade pesto with sun dried tomato and parma ham wrapped chicken. However, I wanted to do it as a separate post as I don't like to bombard people with too much in one post! (Cue this post now being super long!)
This recipe really surprised me. I've only ever tried making my own bread once, which was a relatively easy Nigel Slater recipe. I've never tried flat style bread or any other bread recipes (apart from banana bread ... if that counts!) This is taken from Gino D'Acampo's Fantastico cookery book, a book that I've been using a ridiculous amount and one which I have shared a LOT on here. I absolutely adore his style of cooking, it's fresh, simple and not too difficult despite some recipes perhaps looking like they are harder than they actually are.
The only downside to this recipe is it is quite time consuming (I did knead the bread for a whole 10 minutes, which is slightly insane but I wanted to put the time and effort in so it turned out well as I'm usually so quick and slapdash!), there's lots of waiting, kneading and different stages so I would only recommend trying this if you have a couple of hours spare (yes a couple of hours!) but it was worth it as it was delicious!
Serves 4-6 people as an accompaniment to a main course.
450g strong plain white flour
1 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
130ml extra virgin Olive oil, plus extra for greasing
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, stripped from stalks (and I know I can be lazy and revert to dried herbs sometimes, but you really must use fresh rosemary here!)
Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
Firstly, mix together the flour and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in 300ml of warm water with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix well to make a soft dough.
Take the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface. Now here is the first mega time consuming part but also the part that'll make your bread amazing! Knead for 10 minutes! If you're like me and can't seem to stand still for 10 minutes, call someone and get them on speakerphone or play some music really loudly and sing along. So it's less like you're actually standing there kneading bread! You will really notice the different after the 10 minutes, the bread becomes so much smoother and easier to handle.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour until it has doubled in size.
Once it has grown, turn onto a floured surface and knead the dough for a couple of minutes, then roll into a large rectangle, around 2cm thick. I did it so it would cover a large rectangular baking tray.
Transfer the dough onto an oiled baking tray. (I just poured a bit of olive oil over the tray and moved it about so the oil covered the surface) Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise (AGAIN!) for about 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Remove the cling film and prick the risen dough with a fork so it has a nice look about it and has some breathing holes! Brush the dough with half of the remaining oil, sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until it looks gorgeous, golden and brown. Remove from the baking tray and transfer to a wire rack. As it cools, brush with the remaining oil to soften the crust.
Serve with a yummy Italian style dinner for friends!