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Focaccia – Random Recipes #28

randomrecipes2This month Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipe Challenge is simply called ‘Bread’. Dom asked us to select a recipe from our baking books or the baking section of our books.  I did my random draw and came up with the very flamboyant ‘Bernard King’s Summer Kitchen’. OK then….. Thankfully Bernard didn’t have any bread, bakery or even dessert items in his book.  I’m sure I remember him singing about doughnuts in his theme tune to ‘King’s Kitchen’.  Anyway – no bread so move on.  Next book plucked out – The Silver Spoon.  No bread products except pizza bases.  Next book – Charmaine Solomon’s Asian Cooking for Beginners.  No bread again.  So, I reviewed the situation and realised I had no baking books and most of my other cookbooks didn’t have a baking section or bakery items.  Time to get serious!  A fairly small list of all baking sections and random baking newspaper clippings, magazine rip outs and Internet printings was compiled. Finally, after triple proving, the recipe rose to the surface (that’s a hilarious baking joke) – Rosemary Focaccia from that well-thumbed cookbook, The Guardian: Weekend.  The recipe is by a little known cook, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

I’ve made focaccia before but never using this recipe. I chose to make it for family before we headed out for dinner to celebrate a birthday. It’s quite a forgiving recipe so if you’re not an expert baker, you can still have a go at it. I must admit that I did cheat on the rules slightly by adding in a handful of olives and semi dried tomatoes to amplify the Italian theme of the evening. If you have time, the triple proving ensures the focaccia has a lighter texture. It’s certainly not diet food but I enjoyed every crumb.

Best wishes to Dom and a speedy recovery so that you too can enjoy every crumb!

Rosemary Focaccia
(Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Rosemary Foccaccia sliced


  • 500g strong white bread flour (I successfully used wholemeal)
  • 10g fine salt
  • 7g dried yeast (1 sachet of Tandaco brand)
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (extra)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt (extra)
  • Rosemary sprigs


  • Empty yeast into a small bowl and combine with honey or sugar
  • Add 350ml lukewarm water – not too hot! or it will kill the yeast
  • Gently mix yeast and water, set aside in warm spot for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to bubble and activate (my tip if it’s a cold day is to pop it in the microwave with the door closed  – but do not turn the microwave on!)
  • Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.  Add yeast mixture to bowl and mix to a rough, soft dough.  Add oil and squish into dough.
  • Scrape the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead dough for 10 minutes.  It can be sticky so you may have to dust your hands with flour occasionally.
  • Oil a large bowl, place the dough into it and cover with a piece of clingfilm that’s been oiled to stop the dough sticking.
  • Set aside in a warm, draft free area for an hour or so until the dough has risen and doubled in size.  This is called  ‘proving the dough’.
  • When ready, gently knead in the bowl for a few minutes to deflate the dough.  This is called ‘knocking back’.
2nd prove - olives & tomatos added

2nd prove – olives & tomatos added

  • Set aside again and allow the dough to rise.
  • When ready, place the dough in a lightly oiled baking (lamington) pan 25 x 35cm.  Gently press it out to the corners so the dough covers the entire base evenly.
  • Lightly oil the dough with extra olive oil, sprinkle with extra sea salt and rosemary, cover and set aside for 20 minutes.
3rd prove

3rd prove

  • Just before you place the dough in the oven, press a finger into the dough at regular intervals to make the indents that you see in focaccia.
  • Bake at 230c for 15 – 20 minutes, Turn down heat to 200c after 10 minutes if browning too fast
  • Remove from oven when golden, allow to cool slightly and the cut.  Best served warm but can be cooled and re-heated the next day.


  • I added the olives and semi dried tomatoes when I was knocking back the dough the first time.  If you are adding ingredients, remove the dough from the bowl, stretch is lengthwise, scatter with the extra ingredients and then knead for a minute to try to distribute them evenly.  Shape back into a ball and return to the bowl for second rise (prove).  Continue with directions above.
  • The recipe calls for another tablespoon of olive oil to be drizzled over the focaccia when it comes out of the oven but there was more than enough for oil for me already.
Rosemary Foccaccia fresh from the oven
8 comments… add one
  • Mel Kettle May 28, 2013, 9:11 pm

    yummmmm that looks divine! I love home made foccacia. Wish Bernard King did have a bread recipe – that would have been fun 🙂

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! May 28, 2013, 9:14 pm

      I was yum and very easy. I've had a real trip down memory lane watching BK on YouTube.

  • belleau kitchen May 29, 2013, 3:58 pm

    Looks so good. Wish I could tuck into a slice right now. You know I've never made focaccia but I do love the stuff. It has a wonderful cakey quality that is so delicious. I love your selection method too. Amazing you don't have many baking recipes! Thanks so much for entering. Always lovely to have you on board xx

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! May 29, 2013, 6:45 pm

      I like its cakey quality too and I must admit, I like it a bit oily. I've never thought of myself as a baker and I guess it shows in my cookbook collection. All the best!

  • Phil in the Kitchen May 31, 2013, 7:26 am

    That looks great. Focaccia is one of my favourite breads to eat or bake but I've never tried Mr F-W's version. Well, not yet.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! May 31, 2013, 9:50 am

      It's surprisingly easy though you do need time on your side to allow it to rise and trap those air bubbles in. Good luck & thanks for visiting!

  • Magnolia Verandah May 31, 2013, 10:03 pm

    So interesting to compare the different focaccia recipes, all slightly different. Love the use of wholemeal bread and the honey. This looks like it rose quite a bit, mine remained flattish and cake but still tasted delicious. Looks lovely will be trying this method too.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! June 1, 2013, 8:36 am

      I always use honey instead of sugar, it's just something I've always done. I think if you have time, allowing it to rise a 3rd time is the trick. Hope to see you back soon.

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