Focaccia

Focaccia with Olsson's Salt Flakes and Alto Olives extra virgin olive oil

I love authentic focaccia made with a generous amount of olive oil and had such fun working on focaccia recipes for our Month on the Italian Riviera inspired by Lucio Galletto. Lucio uses more water and oil in his recipe than many I’ve seen and I think that’s what makes his focaccia so delicious. I also love how versatile focaccia is – Lucio calls it ‘Liguria’s answer to pizza’ and I see what he means – see five of my favourite focaccia variations at the bottom of this page.

Serves 4 as a side dish or snack

Ingredients
  • ¾ teaspoon dried yeast (about 2g)
  • Pinch sugar
  • ⅔ cup warm water
  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Salt flakes, to taste
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
Method
  1. Combine yeast, sugar and ⅓ cup of the warm water in a small bowl and set aside for 10–15 minutes, until it starts to froth.
  2. Place flour and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  3. Add yeast mixture, remaining water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl until everything is combined.
  4. Mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  5. Shape into a ball, coat in oil and place in a clean bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm spot for at least 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  6. Generously grease the base and sides of a baking dish (about 26 x 20cm, or 25cm diameter).
  7. Roll or stretch out the dough to roughly the size of the dish.
  8. Put it in the dish and stretch it out to cover the base evenly.
  9. Dimple the top with your fingertips, cover and set aside for another 30 minutes or so.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C.
  11. Drizzle remaining oil over the dough and brush it across the surface evenly; sprinkle generously with salt.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes until dark golden.
  13. Cut into slices and serve warm.

Like this recipe? You’ll love A Month on the Italian Riviera Inspired by Lucio Galletto!

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Focaccia Variations

Once you’ve mastered a basic focaccia you can start having fun with toppings. Most Mediterranean herbs work well, but my favourite is rosemary fresh from the garden. After adding oil and salt to the top of the dough, scatter about a tablespoon of rosemary leaves over it.

Liguria is famous for the tiny, tasty Taggiasche olives that make the most delicate olive oil. They’re also preserved in oil and are great scattered over focaccia dough. Ideally use the pitted ones so no one accidentally bites down on a pit. After adding oil and salt to the dough, scatter about 2 tablespoons of pitted olives over it.

I love the way red onion sweetens when it’s baked. Once the dough’s in the baking dish and dimpled, drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over it and sprinkle with salt, scatter a very finely sliced small red onion over the top, then drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Bake until the onion’s slightly charred, which may be 5 minutes or so longer than for a plain focaccia.

Place dough in baking dish, dimple it, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss 2 small, peeled potatoes (about 200g) with a tablespoon of oil and arrange them on top. Drizzle with another tablespoon of oil and bake until potato is golden (possibly 5 minutes or so longer than for plain focaccia); baste the potato occasionally with the oil around the sides of the tin.