Using only a small amount of yeast and letting the bread dough rise slowly in a cool place will make a better tasting bread.
about 700 ml coarse wheat flour
100 ml whole wheat flour
about 325 ml cold water
12 g fresh yeast
¾ tsp salt
25 - 50 ml olive oil
½ tbsp coarse sea salt
½ tbsp crushed dried rosemary and thyme
few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme
(about 50 ml good-quality, pitted olives)
Measure the flours in the mixing bowl of a heavy-duty tabletop mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour over the cold water and the crumbled yeast. Knead for 13 minutes, add the salt and knead for another 2 minutes.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight. If in a hurry, you can let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, but the result will be less tasty.
On the next day, punch down the dough and knead it for a while with your hands on the work surface. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes to relax the gluten.
Roll out and pat the dough into a flat disk about 2 centimetres thick.
Place the bread disk on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper lightly brushed with olive oil. Cover the bread with damp towel and let rise for about 45 minutes in room temperature.
Brush the bread liberally with olive oil from all over. Gently punch holes on the surface of the bread, using your fingers. Sprinkle the dried herbs and the salt on the surface of the bread.
Strip the leaves off the fresh herbs and press them lightly onto the surface. If you like, press some olives in the dough as well.
Place the bread in the oven, preheated to 250 °C. Immediately lower the heat to 225 °C and bake the bread for about 20 minutes. Drizzle the bread with some more oil, if you like, and place on a wire rack. Cover loosely with a towel and let cool.
Serve the focaccia warm, cut in chunky slices. The bread is good when dipped in a mixture of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, flavoured with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
See a recipe for focaccia with taleggio cheese and sage.
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by chef Tina Nordström, SVT Europa/Mat, 2001.