Italian Focaccia

A recent inventory of my kitchen cupboards revealed five opened bags of flour (yes, five?!) and a packet of dried yeast that was four months beyond its sell-by date. I’d recently filed away a Jamie Oliver recipe for Focaccia, the Italian bread which, if my language skills serve me correctly, is pronounced, rather trickily, Fockatcha . Jamie’s recipe called for cherry tomatoes, rosemary and garlic, while a similarly filed recipe suggested mozzarella and pesto. Why stop there, I thought, and while the cyclist in my life was burning off calories on the hills of the French Riviera, I got creative with lunch:

Better with more holes
Better with more holes
Pick'n'mix ingredients
Pick'n'mix ingredients

You will need:

500g / 1lb 2oz strong white bread flour*

7g / 1/3 oz sachet of dried yeast

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

* I only had cake flour so my texture was lighter and spongier. Still good, though.

Then a mix of any of whichever Mediterranean ingredients you prefer, such as:

Cherry tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes




Goat’s cheese

Black olives


Olive oil / flavoured olive oil

To make the dough:

  • Pour the flour into a large bowl and mix in the salt.
  • Dissolve the yeast in 325 ml / 12 fl oz tepid water.
  • Add water and oil to the flour, and mix to a dough. Just get your hands dirty and remember not to answer the phone if it rings. Pull and knead and stretch your dough for a good ten minutes. (I suggest music or an interesting radio programme during this period).
  • Replace in your bowl and cover with a little more oil (I forgot this bit). Throw over a tea-towel and leave in a warm spot for an hour.
  • Wash your hands.
  • After your hour’s up, stretch the dough out onto a baking dish until it’s about 20cm x 30cm / 8 in x 12 in. Cover again with the tea-towel and leave for another 30-40 minutes.

Getting creative:

  • Heat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4.
  • Once the dough’s risen, press small holes all over it. More than I did in the accompanying photo – on eating, the mouthfuls that don’t have a surprise package in them seem a bit dull. At this point, Jamie puts his cherry tomatoes in the holes so they cook for longer.
  • Bake in the oven for about fifteen minutes, then remove and add your chosen ingredients. Mine happened to be chopped-up sun-dried tomatoes, goat’s cheese and black olives.
  • Smear the bread with a little olive oil – now’s the time to use that flavoured stuff someone once bought you and you’re always forgetting – and bake for another five to ten minutes.

A bit of a fiddle, perhaps, but Focaccia really is delicious, even if it does sound like something you couldn’t politely offer your grannie.

More by this Author

Comments 4 comments

shleglebagel profile image

shleglebagel 5 years ago

Sounds good. I have always wondered how to make Focaccia bread so thanks for the help.

Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 5 years ago from South of France Author

My pleasure, Shleglebagel, it's a fun thing to do, albeit somewhat time-consuming. And messy!

lilibees profile image

lilibees 5 years ago

MMMMMM, this looks like a really recipe, I will try it and soon! Thanks!

Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 5 years ago from South of France Author

Hi Lilibees, I really enjoyed it and thought it was worth sharing. Let me know how yours works out!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article