Fail-proof focaccia bread

Focaccia art is trending on social media – make a masterpiece or simply enjoy it the traditional way with this basic recipe.

Less than 45 minutes
(excluding 2-hour rising time)

Serves 4-6

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (600g) flour + extra for dusting
  • 1 sachet (10g) instant yeast (or 30g fresh yeast)
  • 1 tsp (5ml) fine salt
  • 1½ cups (375ml) lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) olive oil + extra for greasing
  • ½ cup (125ml) each black and green olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
  • 4 tsp (20ml) salt flakes
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil

Method:

  1. Lightly oil a 30cm x 25cm baking tray.
  2. Mix flour, yeast and salt together.
  3. Mix water and oil together.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the liquid while mixing slowly to create a dough.
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
  6. Place in a clean bowl and in a warm spot and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
  7. Knead dough to incorporate new air – this is called knocking back the dough.
  8. Add half the olives, if using, and knead to incorporate.
  9. Cover base of the prepared baking tray with dough and set aside in a warm spot to rest for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  11. Make indents in dough using your fingertips.
  12. Sprinkle with salt flakes and remaining olives, if using, or decorate with herbs and vegetables at this point if you like to recreate Insta-worthy focaccia art.
  13. Whisk water and olive oil until emulsified and brush over focaccia. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  14. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  15. Remove from baking tray and cool on a wire rack.
  16. Serve with good-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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