Focaccia was the first bread that I attempted to make as a little girl. The single prove and thin height made for a quick and easy before dinner bake. Focaccia was then and still is a forgiving loaf…where irregular shape adds to its character and gives it rustic charm. I always used to save my over-baked-extra-crispy focaccia with glugs of extra virgin olive oil – which sank into the dough, making it moist and terribly moreish. Since cracking the correct dough consistency, I now enjoy experimenting with surplus fridge and pantry offerings as toppings. Sun dried tomatoes, feta and anchovy fillets are just some of my favourites.
310ml warm water
10g instant yeast
15g brown sugar
60ml olive oil + extra for greasing
450g white bread flour + extra for kneading
Coarse sea salt (Maldon is best!)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ red onion, finely sliced
15 – 20 good quality kalamata olives
- Mix water, yeast, sugar and half of the oil in a glass bowl. Cover with cling film, and leave all to react for 10 min in a warm area.
- In a deep bowl, add salt to flour and make a well. Pour yeasty water in the centre of the well. Using one hand, bring in flour from the sides towards the middle of the well – until you have formed a dough. Remove from bowl and place on a floured surface.
- Knead dough for 6-8min with your hands, until it is both smooth and elastic to the touch.
- Grease a large baking sheet with oil, and spread out dough to about 2-3cm thick. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 45min in a warm area. Preheat oven to 200°C, fan setting.
- Once risen, place olives and rosemary in dough and top with onion slices. Drizzle the remainder 30ml oil all over your risen unbaked focaccia and bake for 25-30min.
- Assess the readiness of your focaccia by tapping the bottom lightly; should you hear a hollow sound – it’s ready. No hollow sound – return to the oven. Repeat the tap test until baked.
Serve warm with antipasti or as a soup dipper