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Focaccia has become almost commonplace throughout Europe, where once it was unfamiliar to all except Italians. This hasn't diminished its deliciousness, though, and home-made focaccia is the best of all. The most common variety is simply topped with some oil and sea salt, and comes in large rectangular shapes which are then cut into squares. It can also be made, however, in the shape of a pizza. Focaccia dough should be slightly thicker than a normal pizza as it is very similar to bread in consistency and, like bread, it can accompany all sorts of foods.
85g (3 oz) fresh yeast (or the equivalent amount of dried yeast: see maker's instructions) Topping
600ml (1 pint) warm water
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1kg (2 1/4 lb) '00' flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp soft brown sugar
3 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
Coarse salt and black pepper to taste
85g (3 oz) fresh yeast (or the equivalent amount of dried yeast: see maker's instructions)
Prepare the dough as described for the basic pizza, using the alternative quantities and the sugar instead of salt. Leave it to rise, and preheat the oven to 230 C/ 450 F/ Gas 8.
Roll the dough out until it is either a rectangle of a circle 2.5cm (1 inch) thick: this amount of dough makes one big rectangular pizza about 35 x 50cm (14 x 20 inch). Place it on an oiled baking tray, cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise again for another hour.
Push down on the dough all over with your fingers to make deep holes, then dribble with four tablespoons of olive oil and scatter with the rosemary leaves. Generously grind fresh pepper and finally sprinkle coarse salt over the whole surface. Bake in the preheated over for 20 minutes: the top should be golden, but the rosemary must not brown.
To obtain a wonderfully crusty focaccia, pour some extra virgin olive oil on top as it emerges from the oven.