Rustic Sicilian Bread

Rustic bread_page

This is a traditional Italian bread that you can make in the morning to get ahead.

250 g [8,8 oz] strong white bread flour
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 dl (0,4 pt) sparkling water
semolina, for sprinkling (optional)
finely chopped rosemary and
Maldon salt, for sprinklng


[1] Heat oven to 220 C [430 F] /fan 200 C [390 F] /gas 7. Mix together the flour, yeast and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the oil, then pour in the water gradually, adding enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 4-5 mins until the dough feels strong, bouncy and has a silky feel to it.

[2] Cut the dough into 8 pieces, then roll out into rough rounds about 16 – 17cm [6 1/2 – 6 3/4 in] in diameter. (Don’t pile them on top of each other or they will stick together.)

[3] Sprinkle a baking sheet or two with semolina if you have it, otherwise leave plain. Lay the breads on the sheets and let them sit for 5 mins, then scatter with rosemary, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until puffy and golden. Can be made 3-4 hrs ahead.