Are you getting to that post Christmas stage when you’re running out of bread and all the fresh stuff? We were in desperate need of bread for lunch today and this recipe is just perfect. It’s quick to make so can be rustled up in a morning and you can use either plain or bread flour depending on what you have in the larder.
Since our lovely (if eventful!) meal at La Pala d’Oro in Malaga (see my post on Malaga with allergies), Little S has taken to olive focaccia; and as she’s recovering from a nasty bout of Covid (gosh, it really is an unpleasant virus) and an upsetting isolation over Christmas 😢, I wanted to make her something she’d really love. It’s not surprising that she finds olive focaccia delicious, as the salty olives give a wonderful pop of savoury flavour in the soft oily bread, it’s a match made in heaven. However, Big S is also no fan of olives, in fact nothing will persuade her they’re nice. So here we have a tomato focaccia half studded with olives and half without – then everyone is happy! This loaf is perfect served with a bowl of soup on a wintery lunchtime but also makes a superior snack at anytime, especially when dipped in a good quality oil and balsamic – yummy!
If you can find Belazu tomato and balsamic paste you will notice the difference – like all their products I’ve tried, they really do make exceptional pastes, sauces etc that add depth and interest to any dish.
Tomato and Olive Focaccia
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)
makes 1 loaf
- 250g plain or bread flour
- 7g dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste, I used Belazu tomato and balsamic paste
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 150-160ml cold water
- 1 tbsp tomato paste mixed with 1 tbsp oil and sea salt for the top
- ½ tsp oregano
- A handful of olives
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil, tomato paste and water.
- Bring together to form a slightly sticky dough, then knead well to make it smooth and silky. If you have a mixer with dough hooks, it would work perfectly.
- Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil on the work surface. Turn out the dough onto the oil and knead well again until the oil is incorporated into the dough.
- Place in a bowl and cover. Leave to double in size. This will take an hour or two.
- Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment.
- Knock back the dough and press into the lined baking tray, making sure it reaches the corners. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/210 fan/Gas mark 7
- Drizzle the tomato and oil mix over the dough and then dimple the top of the focaccia with your fingertip and press in the olives and scatter on some sea salt and the oregano.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden. Brush with a little more oil to give a lovely sheen and cool on a wire rack.
- Best eaten fresh, but will keep for a couple of days if well wrapped in parchment. Also freezes brilliantly.