500g white bread or '00' flour

300ml lukewarm water

50ml good quality extra virgin olive oil

7g dried yeast

5g sea salt

olive oil and sea salt to finish

  • Pop all the ingredients into a bread machine on the dough setting.
  • At the end of the programme, punch down the bread and knead on a floured surface. 
  • Roll into a rough oval or rectangular shape, the dough will keep shrinking back so persevere.
  • Dust a baking tray with polenta and place the dough on top.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the dough and gently spread it across the surface with your hands.
  • Using your fingers, make lots of deep indents all over the dough.
  • Leave it to rise, until the dough is around double in height. Around 1 will depend on the season and warmth of your kitchen.
  • Preheat oven to gas mark 7 and place a roasting tin with water on the bottom.
  • When the dough has risen, pop into the oven for 15 minutes. I usually rotate the tray 180 degrees midway through.
  • I then tend to turn my bread upside down and bake for a further 5 minutes, to ensure a nice firm base. At the end of baking time tap the base, it will sound hollow when baked through. 
  • Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
  • Brush liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. 
  • Even though it will be tempting to scoff straight away, leave to cool on the wire rack to allow the proteins in the bread to relax.