Conor’s Focaccia (Winner of the Viva! Bake Off)

Conor's Vegan Focaccia Bread

“Bread being my favourite food, baking this focaccia (several times) for the Viva! Bake Off was a no-brainer!” Lucky for Conor he did because it won him the competition!

Not too trickyNot too trickyFreezable recipe
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Preparation time

2 hr 30 min

Cook time

25 min

Total time

175

Cuisine

Italian

Meal

  • breakfasts
  • lunches
  • sides-light-meals-and-salads

Servings

12-16

Ingredients

  • 500g/4 cups strong bread flour
  • 7g/¼ oz dried fast action yeast
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the tin and to serve
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 100g/3½ oz black olives (halved)
  • 6-8 sundried tomatoes (halved or quartered)
  • Handful of rosemary, sprigs picked
  • Italian herbs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Mix the yeast into one side of the flour and the fine salt into the other side. Then mix everything together. This initial separation prevents the salt from killing the yeast.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add 2 tablespoons oil and 350-400ml lukewarm water, adding it gradually until you have a slightly sticky dough (you may not need all the water).
  3. Sprinkle the work surface with flour and tip the dough onto it, scraping around the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5-10 minutes until your dough is soft and less sticky. Or, keep the mixture in the bowl and knead it with a wooden spoon, folding it over and pressing it until you reach a desired consistency. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 1 hour until doubled in size.
  4. Oil a rectangle, shallow tin (25 x 35cm). Tip the dough into the tin, then stretch it to fill. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for another 35-45 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 200°C (fan)/390°/Gas Mark 7. Make dimples by gently pressing your fingers into the dough until your fingers touch the bottom of the tin. Mix together 1½ tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon water and the flaky salt and drizzle over the bread. Push the olives, sundried tomatoes and sprigs of rosemary into the dimples in the dough.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Whilst the bread is still hot, drizzle over 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold with extra olive oil, if you like.

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