Our focaccia bread recipe is soft, fluffy and delicious topped with almost any vegetable or even fruit. Our favourite toppings in the spring and summer are tomatoes olives and rosemary with sea salt. In the autumn and winter, try it topped with sliced pear, red grapes and walnuts, and substitute the oil to 25gr blue cheese.

When choosing olive oil, it is important to select a fruity one as it will dominate the flavour of the loaf. To mix the dough it will take approximately 15-20 minutes by hand and approximately 10-15 minutes in a mixing machine.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 500gr strong bread flour
  • 25 gr fresh yeast or 10gr instant yeast
  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 10gr salt
  • 100gr cherry tomatoes or ½ punnet, halved
  • 15 olives, halved
  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary
  • Sea salt for sprinkling
  • 60-100ml olive oil for oiling the mixing bowl, bench and brushing the loaf

METHOD

  • Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and mix with 350gr lukewarm water. Mix briefly and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to develop naturally. This makes mixing easier.
  • Mix the yeast and the remaining water together with a pinch of sugar, set aside for the yeast to develop.
  • Now add the yeasty water and the olive oil to the flour mix and start to fold together. This will seem very sticky to start off with but do not be tempted to add extra flour. After approximately 2 minutes of folding add the salt.
  • Once the dough comes together scrape onto an oiled workbench and stretch-fold until smooth, shiny and soft. The dough will not be sticky rather tacky. Mixing the dough for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • (If using a kitchen mixer such as kitchen aid mix on speed 3 for 5 minutes then on high speed for another 5 minutes or until the mix cleans the sides of the bowl.)
  • Mix on low speed for 5 minutes or until the dough becomes nice soft and elastic.
  • Heavily oil a deep bowl or a larger square tub (square tub helps shaping the dough later)
  • Now cover the bowl with a clean cloth and rest for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes the dough should be already well risen. Now stretch fold the dough and cover back to rest for further 30 minutes.
  • Oil a deep baking tray and pour the well-rested dough in the middle. Stretch the dough gently to the end of the baking tin working fast without deflating the dough.
  • Drizzle the dough with olive oil and dimple with your fingertips. Once this done cover the tray loosely and set aside for 40 minutes. If you planning to bake the loaf later then place in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours.
  • Meanwhile heat the oven to 200C and prepare the toppings.
  • When the 40 minutes is up, gently sprinkling the dough with the toppings and carefully pressing them in just a very little bit.
  • Bake until golden, approx. 25-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the loaf.