This is one for the weekend. Proving bread does take a while, but this recipe isn’t too complicated and can be whipped up much faster than you think. Make the dough on a Sunday morning, have a coffee or meet a friend as it proves and it will be ready by lunchtime. Perfect for dipping in olive oil and vinegar alongside a scrummy salad like this beetroot and goats cheese one. Deeelish!
For the bread
- 250g white spelt flour (or strong bread flour)
- 170ml warm water
- 50ml good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus an extra 20ml or so to knead
- 5g yeast
- 5g salt
- Bunch of spring onions (around 6)
- Handful of thyme
- Good quality sea salt
- Place the flour into a mixing bowl and add the yeast and salt. Stir gently to combine.
- Create a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the olive oil and around 120ml warm water. Using your hands, slowly start to incorporate the flour into the liquid until the dough begins to come together. Continue to add the rest of the water, if needed, and mix with your hands until the flour has been fully combined. You’re aiming for a very soft dough – much wetter than a traditional bread mix.
- Pour some of the remaining oil onto a work surface and tip the dough out. Knead for 5-10 minutes, stretching the dough and coating it in the oil. Add a little more oil to the work surface if the dough starts to stick.
- Once the dough is smooth and elastic, transfer it to an oiled, preferably square, plastic container and cover with a tea towel. Leave to prove for at least one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once proved, oil the work surface a second time and tip the dough out of the container. Carefully divide the dough into two pieces, keeping as much air in the mix as possible. Place each piece onto oiled baking paper, stretching the dough out to create a rounded rectangle, and place on a baking tray. Cover each tray with a plastic bag and leave for a further hour.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Slice the spring onions into long thin strips and lay across the top of the dough, pressing each one down slightly so they stick.
- Using your pinkie finger, poke a few holes in the focaccia dough, pressing all the way through to the tray. Sprinkle each one with a little sea salt and a handful of thyme, then drizzle with olive oil.
- Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown in places. The focaccia should sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Leave to cool.
- To serve, slice the focaccia into reasonably thin pieces and dunk in a 3-part oil, 1-part vinegar dressing.