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Gluten-free focaccia with rosemary and lemon

Rosemary ain’t just a pretty fragrance. Its medicinal properties – appreciated by herbalists and Granny Joan for hundreds of years – are now being confirmed by modern science. Yes, a daily round of Sudoku (or brushing your teeth with your left hand) helps to keep brain rust at bay. But so too might rosemary.

This woody herb contains several groovy compounds shown to inhibit the nasty breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a very important neurotransmitter for optimum brain function. Some of the drugs available for Alzheimer’s disease work similarly by interfering with acetylcholine breakdown. Mother N! You clever beast!


rosemary and lemon flaxseed focaccia_edited-1


A few other racy compounds, caffeic and rosmarinic acid, contribute to rosemary’s health-buffing reputation. These acids, along with vitamin E and assorted flavonoids from the plant, may be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body and the brain (hangover anyone?)

If Sudoku doesn’t tickle your brain cells, this bread should sort you out. Don’t forget flax is nature’s richest source of plant-based omega 3s. Body. Slam.



Paleo & gluten-free focaccia with rosemary and lemon

What is paleo? It’s a screamingly trendy caveman menu of fruit, nuts, meat, dairy and eggs. Disciples are not so fond of grains or carb-rich foods.

Being a giddy herbivore for 90% of my day, I’m not an acolyte but I appreciate the appeal. Paleo bread recipes have been cantering across restaurants and cookbooks from Dehli to Dunlaoghaire. This one is the best of them all, and freezes exceptionally well.


3 teaspoons dried rosemary
240g milled flaxseed / linseed
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
185ml regular or plant milk
2 tablespoons black strap molasses

½ unwaxed lemon, juice and zest
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Handful golden sultanas or mulberries
Sea salt flakes, to dust

Preheat conventional ovens to 180 degrees, gas mark 4, fan assisted 160. Line an 8×10 (20cm x 25cm) with greaseproof paper. This will look like a focaccia rather than a loaf, that’s why we use something bigger than a bread tin or a brownie tin. Size is really important.

Let 2 teaspoons of the rosemary, the ground flax and your baking powder party in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, molasses, zest and juice of your small lemon and olive oil with a fork until happily glossed up. Parachute your sultanas into the mix. Dried mulberries are also awesome but are dastardly expensive.

Now add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl, and immediately pour into your pre-lined tin. Spread evenly, and sprinkle the remaining rosemary on top with a flurry of sea salt flakes. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and its tin. Allow to cool for 25 minutes on a wire rack. Tickle with smashed avocado, black olive tapenade or hummus. This kale pesto is particularly good smothered over a slice, even 3 days old.


p.s. I know some of my terribly clever readers are bound to ask why I use 3 eggs here, and not 4 like the last paleo flaxseed focaccia. Smart question! This recipe requires less hold, becasue it does not have the addition of olives and tomatoes. Ta dahhh!




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  • Reply Petreawalsh May 1, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Hi Susan,
    Would it be ok to use fresh rosemaryinstead of the dried.

    I have a lovely plant growing.

    Bread looks delicious.

    Petrea Walsh 

    • Reply Susan Jane May 7, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Absolutely! I find the fresh equivalent unusually more potent than the dried for this recipe. Go for it!

  • Reply Ele May 8, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Susan! I’m a big fan of your black bread and am looking forward to trying this one! I am now living in Berlin and can’t seem to find golden milled linseeds anywhere. But broken dark linseeds (geschortet leinsamen) are aplenty. Would they work as a substitute? 
    Many thanks,

    • Reply Susan Jane May 9, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Perfect substitute, don’t panic! Go for it. Enjoy! Thanks for connecting from Berlin 😉

  • Reply Heather May 12, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Susan,

    I made this last weekend and having it at the moment for my lunch – yum!

    Are flaxseed and linseed the same? I’m reading different things online.

    I just bought a packet of milled linseed (with goji berries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds in one packet). is there less nutrition than if you ground the linseed yourself?



    • Reply Susan Jane May 13, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Yes – they are the same. Except that when a recipe calls for milled of ground flax, it can’t be replaced with whole flax. But I bet you already knew that! Linwoods foil pack theris, and mill in a cold window-less room so as not to expose the seeds to light. I trust their brand. But you could try milling them yourself in a coffee grinder 😉 That way, you know they are fresh if you can’t get Linwoods. Hope this helps! Good on you!

  • Reply Liam January 28, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Is there any substitute possible for the egg in this recipe for someone that has an intolerance to all things egg! Thanks 🙂

  • Reply Bernadette May 10, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Hi,just watched you video,which is super.any chance you could add how you made roobios honey one for kids?love to give that a go,fussy house need to start sweet to hook them in! Thanks bernadette

    • Reply Susan Jane May 11, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Understood! Add 2-3 tablespoons of date syrup or honey to the recipe. Instead of milk, use freshly brewed rooibos tea (strong. I leave mine in a pot for the day). Add some dried mulberries or raisins too, if they like that sort of thing. Hope it hooks them!

  • Reply Heidi Attwood August 19, 2020 at 3:00 am

    Any way we could leave out the sweet stuff and still have a successful bread?

    • Reply Susan Jane December 21, 2020 at 5:54 pm

      Definitely! No problemo. Added flaky salt can compensate, or sundried tomatoes

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