- August 2023
- Serves 10
- Hands-on time 55 min, plus resting and proving overnight (spread over 3 days). Oven time 30 min
Ligurian focaccia collides head-on with Neapolitan puttanesca in this incredible loaf. Our light and pillowy focaccia – glistening with olive oil and topped with tomatoes, olives, anchovies and capers – is this summer’s must-bake.
This recipe gives two options: a three-day method for a full tasting flavour, or you can make the focaccia in a day – just skip step 1 of this recipe and add all the dough ingredients at the same time, then prove in a warm place (not the fridge) for a few hours until doubled in size.
For something a bit different, try our herby gooseberry focaccia.
- 12g (2.1g saturated)
- 41g (2.3g sugars)
- 50g strong wholemeal bread flour (or more white flour)
- 3g instant yeast
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 300ml warm water
- ½ tbsp fine salt
- 100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling and drizzling
- 50g tin anchovy fillets in oil
- 80g pitted black olives
- 2 tbsp capers, drained
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 20cm x 30cm high-sided baking tin
- The night before you want to start the bread, make a poolish (starter). Put the strong wholemeal flour, 50g water and a pinch of the yeast in a small container. Mix, cover and leave at room temperature overnight until bubbly.
- The next day, scrape the poolish into a large mixing bowl and add the white flour, remaining yeast, sugar and water. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Add the salt with a splash of water to help it dissolve and knead into the dough, followed by the olive oil. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
- ‘Coil fold’ the dough: use wet hands to scoop under one edge of the dough, lift it up then fold it over itself. Turn the bowl by a quarter and repeat, then turn and repeat twice more. Cover and set aside for 40 minutes. Repeat this 4 more times, every 40 minutes.
- Once you’ve completed the final fold and rest, line the baking tin with baking paper then drizzle a little olive oil in the base and spread it out with your fingers. Carefully persuade the dough into the tin and gently ease it out towards the sides, so it’s roughly rectangular and of an even thickness. To do this use your fingertips underneath the dough, but don’t push or pull too firmly. It may not reach the edges of the tin but don’t worry – it will puff up and fill out as it proves. Cover with a clean tea towel and put in the fridge to prove overnight.
- The next day, take the dough out of the fridge to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Heat the oven to 200°C fan/gas
- Oil your fingers and press them down into the dough to create a dimple pattern all over the top. Open the tin of anchovies, drizzle over the oil they’re stored in, then scatter the anchovies over the top, followed by the olives, capers, tomatoes and garlic. Drizzle over plenty more olive oil, scatter with sea salt, then bake for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 180°C fan/gas 6 without opening the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool or eat while still warm.
Eco tip: Use a shower cap instead of cling film to cover the bowl of dough while it’s proving – it eliminates the need for single-use plastic and creates the same steamy environment.
We give our focaccia a three-day prove for good reason – the actual hands-on time is tiny but the flavour it creates is huge. In general, the slower the proving process, the more time the dough has to ferment and develop in flavour. You can still make perfectly good focaccia in a day, however – just skip step 1 and add all the dough ingredients at the same time (including the poolish ingredients), leave for 30 minutes as in step 2 then continue from step 3. For the final prove, leave the dough in a warm place for a few hours until doubled in size (rather than in the fridge)
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