Focaccia Bread

I fell in love with focaccia bread again last year when I went to Rome. This recipe is inspired by how the famous bonci restaurants change the toppings of their pizzas daily according to what’s in season and available. My favourite is the classic mortadella, pistachio and sesame seeds as I have done here but you can change them up to use whatever flavour combinations you love, like ricotta & pea, tomato & fetta, prosciutto & melon, avocado … the list is endless!

SERVES 10 – makes one 30 x 40cm bread

2 tsp (7g) dry yeast
½ tsp caster sugar
300ml luke warm water
1 tsp salt
500g strong white flour
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing
sea salt & black pepper

60g pancetta, rind removed & diced
6 artichoke hearts in oil, drained & halved
100g shaved mortadella
10g pistachios, chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
30g marinated goat’s cheese, crumbled
fresh basil leaves, to serve

What to do:

Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and whisk to combine. Allow to stand for 5 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy. Add the salt and flour to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix to combine. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together then slightly increase the speed for about 5 minutes, until you have a smooth and soft dough that springs back when you poke it. Brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough inside it to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and stand in a warm part of your house for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Pour half the oil into a 30cm x 40cm baking tray and place dough inside. Pour remaining oil over the top and use your fingertips to press out the dough to the edges, leaving a dimpled pattern in the dough. Cover again with the damp cloth, and place back in the proving drawer for another 30 minutes until risen.

Preheat oven to 200°C Fan Assist.

Sprinkle the dough with salt and bake for 20 minutes until golden on top and bottom, but soft and fluffy inside. Cool and cut into 10 portions.

Fry pancetta in a dry non-stick frypan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until fat renders and pancetta is crispy. To assemble, top focaccia with artichoke and pancetta; mortadella, pistachio and sesame seeds; and tomato, goat’s cheese and basil. Serve.

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