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Focaccia

Good bread is one of or even the most important part of any restaurant, cafe and at the moment lockdown households, I have always been lucky, my mum Jenny baked bread when my childhood friends had sliced bread out of plastic bags, I remember when very young, taking a packed lunch of tuna mayonnaise on brown bread sandwiches to school and my friends being so envious I had to share them, then take extra the next day.

We have always baked all our own bread. I can remember when we created our first focaccia back at The Four Seasons restaurant in Nantgaredig (a white rustic loaf with rosemary, flaky sea salt and plenty of good olive oil).

It became a firm favourite which we have kept on the menu at all the restaurants we have been involved with, there is something about the handling and baking which can take a while to get it right and is difficult to explain, the crust, the texture, the oily crunch but once achieved it is unforgettable.

  • 150 ml milk
  • 150 ml hot water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 dessert spoon dried yeast
Combine the liquid and add the sugar, then the yeast and leave to bubble. Then add
  • 450g strong white bread flour 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Mix all together to combine into a soft elastic dough, leave to prove until doubled in size.

Knock down to original size, give the dough a good knead by hand or machine and shape in to a rectangle about an inch in depth by hand or with a rolling pin.

Place into an oiled baking tray and leave for 20-30 mins in a warm spot.
With your finger tips make dimples in the dough and press in the torn fresh rosemary, a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt.
Leave the dough for around 15 minutes to puff up again then pop into a hot oven, 190 for 30 mins, trickle with yet more olive oil once out of oven and cool on a wire rack.

Eat ideally whilst still warm, we make 4 loaves at a time in a large baking tray and pull apart once baked which gives it its customary soft oily sides, you can do the same by splitting into two smaller loaves baked side by side to achieve the same style and then you will understand.