26 June 2012

Garlic & Herb Focaccia Traybake

Written by Published in Food

This is perfect for those elusive summer days, to take to barbecues, have with fresh salads or to dip into good olive oil and hummus. Part Focaccia, part garlic bread, this really is quite a healthy tray bake and is also particularly great for making sandwiches! If you don't eat it all, wrap it in greaseproof paper and cling film and it will keep in the freezer for about a month


• 200g wholemeal flour (coarse milled is best – and makes for a more interesting texture too)
• 400g strong white flour
• 10g (a good handful) of dried mixed herbs
• A generous pinch of seasalt
• One sachet of dried yeast (but as I always say, read the small print – I was shocked to discover that many now contain 'a blend of yeast and bread improvers' including the enzyme alpha amylase, a known allergen)
• A big glug of good olive oil
• 2 crushed fresh garlic cloves
• Just over 1 pint warm water


Mix all of the above ingredients in a big mixing bowl using a wooden spoon so that it's a soft, smooth but quite wet dough.

Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave it somewhere warm for about 1.5 to 2 hours until it is well risen and quite fragile to the touch.

Generously oil a reasonably deep roasting tin (an earthenware baking dish will work too, as long as it is about 20 by 30cm) and scrape the dough into it, stretching it out so that it covers the base of the tin.

Oil your hands and lightly rub the top so that it's oily all over. Sprinkle with a few more dried herbs, or fresh ones like rosemary, thyme or sage if you have them. You can also tweak this recipe and add fresh chopped chillies or grated parmesan...the variations are endless!

Leave in a warm place for another hour or so.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C, sprinkle the top of the tray-bake with sea salt and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until it is golden brown and hollow sounding.

Leave to cool in the tin. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with more herbs just before serving.

You can break baking rules here and eat this still slightly warm. My favourite combination at the moment is this garlic and herb variety served in chunky fingers with a bowl of warm roasted tomato soup. Especially good if our British summer continues in its temperamental way and barbecues are hard to come by!

Feline Charpentier has been baking professionally since 2006, featuring in Guardian Food Monthly, Country Living magazine and is now contributing to Sublime. She runs Matilda's Bakehouse, a catering business which includes a mobile wood fired pizza oven. Named after her daughter, the business takes her all over the North West and beyond.


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