Focaccia is one of my all-time favourite breads. The vast array of flavours that can be incorporated mean you can end up with entirely different tasting results each time, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever tire of making it.
It’s also pretty simple to make as long as you stick to the recipe. And this one doesn’t take that long compared to some of those out there.
Follow the steps below for a fool-proof focaccia and don’t be afraid to get a little creative with the ingredients!
Red Onion & Sage Focaccia
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 7 g sachet of instant dried yeast
- 325 ml tepid water A little trick is to boil the kettle and add about 175ml of boiling water followed by another 150ml from the cold tap
- 8 tbsp olive oil this may seem like a lot, but the oil is used in bits throughout the process, and this kind of bread really wants a good drink of it!
- 2 small, or 1 medium red onions (sliced)
- about 15 sage leaves
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar optional
- Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on top.
- Pour the sachet of yeast into 325ml of tepid water and stir. Add a pinch of salt.
- Gradually add the water and yeast mixture into the bowl of flour, mixing quickly with a spoon until it becomes a little tougher.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about ten minutes. It’s important to really stretch the dough at this point to make the yeast more elastic. This way we’ll end up with a really fluffy bread.
- Once the dough is smoother and more elastic, leave it to prove in the bowl in a humid area covered with a tea towel (if you don’t have a proving drawer it’s fine to leave it on your worktop covered by the bowl to create some humidity). Leave to prove for 40 minutes.
- While the dough is on it’s first prove, bring 1tsbp of olive oil to a medium heat in a saucepan, then add the red onions. You can add the balsamic vinegar at this point if you like to give the onions a bit of a caramelised taste. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions have just softened a bit. Set aside.
- Put the sage leaves in a bowl with just a little drizzle of olive oil (a tsp and a half should be enough), and massage the oil into the leaves. Doing this will help their flavour soak into the bread and prevent them from burning in the oven too.
- The dough should be lovely and stretchy after 40 minutes proving, so gently tug at all sides to lengthen it, and place it into your oiled baking tray (I used 40cmx27cm, but anything close to this will be fine).
- Make sure the dough is evenly stretched along the tray and is touching all sides so you end up with a good shape. Then drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Be liberal with the oil as the bread really needs it.
- Start to press deep holes into the dough with your fingers all over and make sure to touch the bottom of the tray. You want tp make sure that the wholes are deep and wide enough to remain through the second prove.
- Scatter the red onions and sage leaves on evenly around the dough and slightly press these into the dough as well to make sure they don’t fall off when you cut the bread. The deeper you press them in the more integrated they become with the bread. Top with a generous crack of salt and pepper.
- Cover the baking tray with a tea towel again and leave to prove for a further 45 minutes.
- When there’s only about 10 minutes left of proving time, preheat the oven to 200°C. Then when the dough has nicely risen, place into the oven very gently, making sure not to slam the oven door upon closing. Cook for 25 minutes until the bread has a lovely golden and crispy top. Drizzle the bread with a good glug of olive oil after you’ve taken it out (again, be liberal with this), and use a spatula to remove it from the baking tray.
- Leave the bread to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting, then enjoy!