Focaccia is one of my favourite breads to make because its not very time consuming and its pretty easy once you get the hang of it! .. and the copious amounts of extra virgin olive oil give it a lovely rich flavour.

There are many types of focaccia, this is a blend of different recipes and techniques i’ve tried over the years. I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible whilst explaining the nuances that are inevitable to baking great bread! I hope you have success with it!

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Recipe

For the yeast starter

100g warm water
100g strong bread flour
5g fresh yeast
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For the bread

350g strong bread flour
50g whole-wheat flour
200g yeast starter
275g warm water
18g salt
40g extra virgin olive oil + more for the baking tray
a big handful of chopped black olives (optional)
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Instructions

1. Mix the ingredients for the yeast starter together in a small see through container and leave in a warm place until it triples in size, you can use an elastic band or a marker pen to gauge its growth. When the yeast starter has tripled in size its ready to use. This is similar to how you would prepare a sourdough starter for use.

2. Put the flours and the salt in a big mixing bowl.

3. Mix the oil, water and the yeast starter in a bowl or jug until well combined and then add the wet mix to the flour mix.

4. Mix with your hands until everything comes together into one homogeneous mass. You will need to knead the dough until the gluten is activated. This recipe is on the higher hydration side, so having a mixing machine will help a lot.. I don’t have one so I always knead it by hand. Here is a video demonstrating the method called the ‘slap and fold’ .. which works well with higher hydration doughs. The dough is sufficiently kneaded when it becomes a lot less sticky and starts to come away from the bowl easier.

5. Once you have kneaded the dough place it into a clean mixing bowl. Let it double in size (this should take around 1 hour) and then knock back the dough, this basically means to knead it lightly in the bowl to knock some of the air out, this allows more flavour to develop and also allows air bubbles to form more evenly. Let it double in size again.

6. Once the dough has doubled in size for the second time you want to transfer it into a very well oiled baking tray. At this stage we are only an hour away from baking, we want to allow the dough to rise for a final time, this time we wont knock any air out.

7. Once the dough is nice and puffy you need to preheat up your oven to 230°C (top and bottom heat). Preheat for 30 minutes.

8. I like to dip my fingers in lightly salted water and then make imprints in the dough.. I then drizzle olive oil all over the place and put some chopped fresh rosemary on top.

9. Bake for 15 minutes on 230°C and then 10 minutes on 190°C.. if you see the colour getting to dark during the last 15 minutes you can turn the top heat of the oven off.

10. Once the bread comes out you can sprinkle some maldon sea flakes and coat with some more extra virgin olive oil. I like to use garlic infused oil for extra flavour. Let the bread cool down for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.. the bread is optimal after 30 minutes of cooling down!

Enjoy!