A few months ago I posted a focaccia recipe with lots of basil and olive oil on top. Since then, I’ve been baking focaccia with different toppings for many occasions, from caterings to friends dinners. This topping is yet slightly traditional, but there is one special ingredient in it – a Slovenian herbal salt that my friend Helena brought as a gift from home.
So, in Slovenian, the salt with herbs is called začimbna sol. It’s Slovenian, it’s gluten free, lactose free and vegan. The link to the products is here: https://www.zlatapticka.si/izdelek/zacimbna-sol-za-meso-75g/
What is in this special salt: unrefined sea salt, rosemary, oregano, basil, savoury marjoram, dried tomatoes. So don’t worry, you don’t have to go to Slovenia or have a Slovenian friend to make a focaccia like this, you can make your own herbal salt mixture – though a loving friend bringing you such an authentic taste from home as a gift certainly makes the bread you bake more special.
The base of the focaccia is same as the first recipe. The difference is first in shaping. I baked that focaccia in a rectangle dish. This focaccia is more rustic shaped. The second difference is in topping as I said before, but also I used much more olive oil before and after baking, which you will see in the instructions below.
Focaccia is a very versatile and easy bread. You knead it for a while yes, but whether you give a rustic shape or use a baking dish, it is easy to handle. And actually, as long as you use good quality olive oil and make a good dough, you don’t really have to put any toppings to make it tasty – just some good quality salt on top is enough to turn into a delicious bread.
Well then, now that the summer is coming and the days are warmer (even here in Helsinki!!) and nicer, time to bake this bread and enjoy with a delicious summer dinner!
Difficulty: ★★☆ (Medium)
(makes 1 large bread)
(photos of the dough ingredients are in my other focaccia recipe)
3.5 dl + 5 tsp (or 1 1/2 cups) very warm water (but not boiling)
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dark syrup (or maple syrup)
1 tsp salt
1 lt (4 cups) strong bread flour (in Finnish: hiivaleipäjauho)
5-6 sprigs of rosemary
about 35 black olives, pitted
generous pinch of herbal salt to spread to the whole bread surface*
drizzle of olive oil
*Read the text above for the herbal salt.
1. To make the bread dough, follow the instructions 1-8 of my focaccia recipe in this link: https://mydearkitcheninhelsinki.com/2018/03/26/vegan-monday-focaccia-with-basil-and-olive-oil/
2. Prepare an oven tray with a baking paper on top. Spread breadcrumbs generously on the baking paper. Put the bread dough on the breadcrumbs and using your hands, give a rustic shape by spreading the dough a little. You can make a round shape or a rustic rectangle shape as I did.
3. Cover the dough with stretch film or wet kitchen towel and let it proof for 20 minutes while the oven is heating.
4. When it is ready, put the toppings: I like to put a few sprigs of olive oil as a whole and then spread the rest in pieces. When you put rosemary on top of the dough, press it a bit with your fingers so that it goes well into the dough.
5. Put olives in between rosemary pieces as you like, again pressing with your fingers to keep them well inside the dough.
6. Spread the herbal salt generously on top.
7. Drizzle the surface of the bread with olive oil. Put in the oven, in medium rack, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the surface is nicely (but not too) browned.
8. Take out of the oven and let it rest for just a couple of minutes. Drizzle again with olive oil and transfer to a wire rack to cool down. Enjoy your focaccia with your lunch / dinner, or just by itself!