Garlic and rosemary focaccia


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This is the first of two recipes for focaccia that I get asked for every time I bake them. This one from Tin Eats is probably the best focaccia I have ever eaten. The bread is light and fluffy with a deliciously crisp shell.

It is easy to make but does take some time due to the three rises; plus a bit of forward planning  due to the addition of mashed potato, which gives the bread its delightfully springy, chewy texture.
The mashed potato should to be lump free and as smooth as possible. A ricer works well for this.

Servings: 6 – 8


250 g bread flour
20 g white sugar
6 g fine salt
4 g instant / rapid rise yeast
185 ml very warm water (~40℃ /104℉)
20 ml + 40 ml extra virgin olive oil
125 g cold mashed potato , around 1/2 large potato; floury variety
for baking:
few sprigs rosemary
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt flakes


Place flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and mix well with a firm rubber spatula.

Make a well in the centre, then add 20 ml olive oil and warm water. Mix with the spatula until you can no longer see flour. The dough should be too sticky to knead by hand.

Add the mashed potato. Using a folding motion, start mixing it through using the spatula. Then start smearing it along the walls of the bowl. Once potato is evenly incorporated, shape roughly into a ball in the bowl.

Cover bowl with cling film, then put in a warm place for 30 minutes until it increases in volume by 50% or up to double in size.

Get another large bowl, drizzle with 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of olive oil then use your hands to smear it around the bowl. Scrape the dough into the bowl , and using the spatula,  fold the edges of the dough into the centre six times. Shape into ball, cover with cling film.
Put the bowl in a warm place  for 30 minutes until it increases in volume by 50% or up to double in size.

Use a 26.5 x 20 x 5 cm / 10.5 x 8 x 2” metal non-stick pan, or a 9”/23cm round cake pan, preferably not springform. Pour in 2 tablespoons (30 ml ) of olive oil, then smear it all across the base and along the walls.
Scrape dough into prepared pan. Stretch and pull to fill the base as best you can (itʼs an elastic dough so a bit stubborn!), and get the surface roughly level. Itʼs ok if itʼs bumpy, it will smooth out later.

Cover pan with cling film, then put in a warm place for 40 minutes until the dough expands and fills the pan, and the height rises by around 25 – 30%.

While the dough is rising preheat oven to 220°C / 200°C fan / gas 6 and set a rack on the middle shelf. Allow enough time to ensure oven has been preheated for at least 15 mins for best results.

Make the garlic topping by placing garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil becomes hot, turn down to very low and cook for a few minutes. The garlic should not sizzle or brown, it just poaches gently in hot oil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse

When the dough has finished its final rise, drizzle the surface with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and smear/rub it over lightly with your hands.

Using both your hands like claws, push your fingers deep into the dough, right to the base of the pan to create the signature dimples. Do this around half a dozen times across dough surface. This will somewhat deflate the dough but that is OK.

Strain the garlic though a fine mesh or tea strainer, reserving the oil and garlic separately. The oil should be completely cold.

Drizzle the surface of the dough with 2 tablespoons of the reserved garlic oil so it runs into the dimples.  Scatter the garlic over the top, gently pressing them into the dough, then decorate with a few sprigs of rosemary. Finally sprinkle with the sea salt flakes.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the top is deep golden and lightly crisp, while the sides are fried and crusty.

Turn out onto a cooling rack. Let is rest for at least 10 minutes. If desired you can drizzle a little more olive oil and a few more grindings of sea salt over the top before cutting to serve.

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