Preparation: 35 min, plus 1 hour rising
Cooking: 50 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
15 g (½ oz) fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons dried yeast or 1½ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
250 ml (8 fl oz) lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon caster sugar
400 g (14 oz) strong white bread or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
2 sprigs rosemary, coarsely chopped
coarse sea salt
Brush a large baking sheet with oil or line with baking parchment.
If using fresh yeast, put it into a bowl with the warm milk and mash well with a fork to make a smooth paste. If using dried yeast, dissolve the sugar in the warm milk in a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the surface and leave to stand for 10–15 minutes, until frothy. Stir well to make a smooth paste. (If using rapid-rise yeast, add to the flour in the bowl.)
Sift together the flour and salt into a bowl. Stir in your chosen yeast and add the sugar (if not using dried yeast), rosemary and oil. Add the warm milk if using rapid-rise yeast. Mix well, turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Roll out to a 23-cm/9-inch round and carefully place on the prepared baking sheet. Using your fingertip, make 10 dimples in the surface of the dough and insert 2–3 grains of coarse salt in each. Brush with the oil and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°c/400°f/Gas Mark 6. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until deep golden brown.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, and serve warm.