“This is my favourite Italian flatbread. It’s not very difficult to make. ”
- 20 g fresh yeast , or 2 × 7g sachets of dried yeast
- 20 g runny honey
- 500 g strong bread flour , plus extra for dusting
- 500 g semolina flour , plus extra for dusting (if you can’t get hold of any semolina flour, plain flour will do)
- extra virgin olive oil
- Follow the basic recipe until Step 8, then split the dough into half or quarters.
- Roll or push it out to an oval shape roughly 1.5cm thick; don’t fuss around for perfection, it’s supposed to be rough and rustic, so what a great excuse for a beginner!
- Place on a baking tray liberally dusted with semolina, and spread evenly with your chosen topping (see tips).
- Finally, make those characteristic holes by pushing all your fingers deep into the dough many times, which allows the flavour of the topping to penetrate.
- Leave to prove again in a warm place and after about 45 minutes it will prove to that classic 3cm high.
- Bake for about 15 minutes at full whack (240°C/475°F/gas 9) until ready. As soon as the focaccia comes out of the oven, feed it with a good drizzle of your very best extra virgin olive oil and a light scattering of sea salt. You can eat the focaccia as soon as it has cooled slightly.
Basil & olive oil topping
This is the easiest topping and very tasty. Peel and finely chop 1 clove of garlic and a good bunch of fresh basil. Add roughly three times as much olive oil as you have of the basil mixture, a squeeze of lemon juice, some sea salt, black pepper and sometimes a crushed dried red chilli – gives nice warmth!
Potato & rosemary topping
Wash about 15 new potatoes and slice as thinly as possible. Put into boiling salted (or minty) water for 2 minutes. Drain, place in a bowl, and coat with a generous amount of your best olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper, then add 1 peeled, finely chopped clove of garlic and a handful of chopped fresh rosemary leaves. Spread and push the mixture all over the bread. Flick some extra rosemary on top before baking, for a really rustic look.
I’m a real fried onion boy myself! This topping is tasty, light and fragrant. Peel and halve, from the core to the top, 3 average-sized red onions (or about 6 shallots), then slice as thinly as you can. Heat a frying pan with a good lug of olive oil. Add 1 peeled, finely sliced clove of garlic, a good handful of fresh thyme leaves, and the onions. Add a pinch of sea salt and fry fast, keeping it on the move, for 4 minutes (the idea is to cook fast and caramelize the onions, but not to over-colour or burn them). Next, add about 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and simmer for a further 4 minutes. Add some salt and black pepper and a little extra virgin olive oil, spread everything over your bread, then throw some extra thyme leaves over it. Looks great!
Source: Jamie Oliver