In ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flat bread baked on the hearth. The word comes from the Latin focus meaning "hearth" or a place for baking. The basic recipe is thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans or ancient Greeks, but today it is widely associated with Ligurian cuisine where it is served eitehr as it is or stuffed with other ingredients such as salami, mozzarella, basil, pesto,roasted vegetables, tuna . . anything really.
500g strong white bread flour
2tsp granular salt
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast
80ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
250 - 300ml luke-warm water
1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves only
large pinch sea salt
Dust a large flat baking tray with flour.
Put the flour into a large bowl, add the salt and yeast, then add the olive oil, then gradularly add two thirds of the warm water to make a dry dough then add the rest of the water while kneading to form a soft but slightly sticky dough.
Turn dough out onto a oiled work surface and knead the dough for about ten minutes. Shape the dough into an oval and place it on the prepared baking tray. Cover the dough loosely with oiled clingfilm or a clean tea towel and leave for an hour till doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200 Centigrade/Gas Mark 6.
Once doubled in size shape the knock the dough back and knead for a couple of minutes then re-shape the dough again. With your fingers press holes in the dough at regular intervals then fold the top edge of the dough a third down the dough then bring the bottom edge up to form a "book" fold . Turn the dough 90 degrees then repat the holes, folding and turning three times then make your final finger dimples in the top. Scatter the top with the sprigs of the rosemary, pushing them into the holes, then sprinkle some sea salt over the dough and leave to rise again for thirty minutes to an hour.
Once the dough has risen push fingers into the holes again, but not all the way through, then place in the middle of the oven and bake for about twenty five to thirty minutes, or until the bread is well risen, pale golden-brown and feels hollow when tapped underneath.
Remove from the oven, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and leave to cool on the baking tray.