Focaccia is an Italian oven-baked bread that is traditionally topped with ingredients such as olives, herbs and olive oil. Italian grandmothers would have plenty to say about my simplified, no-knead version, and it certainly looks a little uneven and chunky, but that is all part of it’s charm in my opinion!
You can use olives or grapes for this recipe, and there are plenty of ways kids can get involved with the preparation – helping to mix, watching the dough prove (rise), spreading it out on to the baking tray and, most fun of all, pushing the olives (or grapes) in to it with their chubby little fingers! Other toppings you could experiment with are rock salt, herbs (thyme or rosemary work well), dried fruit or chilli. Allow 15 mins for preparation, at least one hour for the dough to rest and rise, plus 30 minutes cooking time.
Eat the focaccia on it’s own as a snack or with pesto, humous or chorizo slices. The whole loaf costs about £1.30 to make and will keep for two days wrapped in clingfilm.
Olive (or grape) focaccia
300g strong white bread flour
200g strong wholemeal flour
tsp salt (around 4g)
tsp dried yeast (around 4g)
375g cold water
4 tbsp olive oil
30 pitted green olives or seedless grapes
Pour the flour, salt and yeast in to a large bowl and mix. Add the water and mix then use your hands to mix more and shape in to a ball. Return to the bowl, cover with a damp, clean towel and rest for at least an hour so the dough can prove (increase in size).
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 7. Grease a baking tray with one tablespoon of olive oil then gently lower in the dough. Use your hands to stretch it to the edges of the tray and make sure it is roughly even all over. Use your fingers to push the olives in to the dough. Rub 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over the top and pop in the oven, first for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 190 degrees/gas mark 5 for a further approx 20 minutes. It is ready when it is crusted and golden brown. As soon as you take it out of the oven pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on and spread evenly all over, so the hot focaccia can soak it up. Tear or cut in to wedges and serve!