This focaccia recipe comes from The Cookbook by Ottolenghi. If you’ve never made bread before, this recipe is so simple, it might just mean you have to make another! As Ottolenghi says, “make sure to use the best olive oil and be generous with it”. Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil is the oil to use! It prolongs the life of the bread too, which is wonderful grilled the next day. Experiment with the toppings. If you fancy a fruitier topping, see the focaccia with cranberries recipe.
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast (or 15g fresh yeast)
420ml water, lukewarm
330g strong white bread flour
1 small red onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp Zejd extra virgin olive oil
100g goat’s cheese, crumbled
coarse sea salt
- Make the starter first. Put the yeast and water in a large mixing bowl, stir with your finger until the yeast has dissolved. Add the flour and still until the consistency is like porridge. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave somewhere warm for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- Attach a dough hook to your food mixer, and in the bowl add the flour, sugar, olive oil and the starter mixture. Knead on low speed for 6 minutes. Add the salt and then mix on a high speed for a couple of minutes.
- Brush a large bowl with olive oil, and put the dough in, brushing the top with a little more olive oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and leave for an hour somewhere warm until it has doubled in size.
- On a floured surface, gently stretch and flatten the dough into a rectangle. Take one of the short sides of the rectangle and fold it into the middle, and then take the other end and fold it over the first one so that you have 3 layers of dough.
- Brush a heavy flat baking tray, measuring roughly 30 x 40cm with oil. Place the dough on it, with the seam underneath, and flatten the dough with your fingers. Cover with cling film, and leave for another hour. Every 20 minutes press the dough with your fingers, stretching it to the edges of the baking tray. By the end, the surface of the dough will be bumpy and should be about 2cm thick.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
- In a bowl mix the sliced red onion with the olive oil and scatter on top. Dot the dough with the goat’s cheese and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 190C/gas mark 5 and continue for 15-20, by then the underneath of the bread should be baked through. Remove from the oven and while still hot brush with plenty of olive oil.