Here is the Italians’ beloved bread, the perfect tear-and-share dish when your family or friends come over. Cut it up into small sandwich-sized pieces, then serve them on a pretty wooden board with some cheese and good wine or beer on the side. Use whatever topping you like, just make sure you don’t overdo it, let the crispy and fluffy dough speak for itself. It’s just simply perfect.
- 320ml lukewarm water
- 7g dried yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 400g strong white flour
- 100g durum wheat flour (or another 100g strong white flour)
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 heaped tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the top
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
- 15 black olives (pitted)
- 5 sundried tomatoes in oil (chopped)
- 1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
- Sea salt (coarse) and freshly grated pepper to taste
In a jug, mix warm water with sugar and yeast, leave it on the side for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
In a large bowl, mix bread flour, durum flour, oregano and salt. Make a well in the centre, then add oil and the water with yeast, and start mixing the ingredients together. You can use a kitchen machine or your own hands, both will work perfectly well.
If you are using a kitchen machine, place all of your ingredients into the mixing bowl and let the machine knead the dough for you on a medium-high programme until it’s nice and smooth.
If you are working with your hands, tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it until the dough becomes very smooth, like the butt of a baby (it takes about 10-15 minutes work).
Place it in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to prove until doubled in size, which takes roughly an hour, depending on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen.
When it has doubled in size, knock back the dough and gently take it out of the bowl. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and gently stretch the dough to a roughly 1 cm thick rectangle. Don’t forget, it’s not pizza, so don’t make it too thin.
Combine olive oil with crushed garlic and brush the dough with it. Sprinkle over salt, pepper and rosemary, then top it with olives and sundried tomatoes, press them gently into the dough. Cover the focaccia with a clean tea towel and leave it to prove for about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to Gas mark 7 (210C).
Bake your focaccia until golden brown and crispy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside (which will take about 30-35 minutes).
Let it cool a little bit on a wire rack, if you can, but I can guarantee the focaccia is going to smell so damn good, you won’t be able to hold yourself back too long. Cut it up into small pieces and enjoy them with your favourite wine or beer. And don’t forget to share. 🙂
If you like this recipe, check out our bakery section for more bread recipes.
Ingredients and equipment I use:
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