We rarely buy bread from the store - unless you are prepared to spend a fortune from an artisan bakery every time, bread in the UK is fairly disgusting - pappy, lifeless, over-salted and full of horri...Read more
Sourdough chargrilled artichoke, olive and herb focaccia
This delicious, easy-to-make focaccia makes good use of spring herbs and deli-counter goodies. It is perfect to serve on the side with antipasti or salad, or as a base for a special deli-style sandwich. If you want to use a larger tray, simply choose one that is approximately double the surface area and just double the quantity of ingredients.
For the levain
- 50 g Strong white bread flour
- 50 ml Cold water
- 1 tbs Active sourdough starter
For the dough
- 250 g Strong white bread flour
- 125 ml Cold water
- 5 g Salt
- 65 ml Olive oil
For the topping
- Sea salt flakes
- 1 tbs Pitted olives, any kind
- 1 tbs Chargrilled artichoke pieces (from a jar)
- 2 tbs Olive oil
- Day One: Mix the flour, water and sourdough starter in a bowl which has space for the mixture to at least triple in size. Cover loosely with a lid or tea towel and leave overnight at room temperature.
- Day Two (morning): Put the levain and all of the dough ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix with a spatula (or with your hand if you prefer) until the dough roughy comes together.
- Tip the dough, including any loose bits of dough/flour, onto a clean worktop and knead until smooth, stretching the dough as you go. If the dough is sticky, you can use oiled hands or simply have a bowl of water and dip your hands in every few seconds.
- Pour a teaspon of olive oil into the mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl, turning the dough over, so it is all lightly coated in the oil. Cover with a lid or tea towel and leave for half an hour.
- After half an hour, use your hand to stretch the dough and fold it into the centre, turning the bowl as you go (no need to take the dough out of the bowl). Cover again, then repeat after another hour. Repeat every hour (or as often as you can - it's fine to leave it for a couple of hours if you need to go out).
- About two and a half to three hours before you want to bake the bread, generously oil a 20cm x 20cm (approx) baking tin and place the dough into the tin, pushing it gently into the corners - or as far as you are able (as it rises it will make its way right into the corners). Cover with a tea towel or oiled cling film and leave at room temperature for about two hours. The dough should be risen and dimpled - don't be tempted to squash the bubbles.
- Heat the oven to 180C fan (200C). Gently push your fingers all over the dough to make indentations, trying not to expel the air from the bubbles, then scatter over the olives, artichokes and herb sprigs. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes, then drizzle all over with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes until the bread is a deep golden brown. Turn out of the tin and cut into squares. This is excellent served while still hot, but will make good sandwiches the following day, and can be reheated in the oven or toasted.