Our organic ciabatta flour is fantastic for making focaccia with, as it supports high hydration doughs well. If you don’t have it, you could use a strong white bread flour.
Now that the weather is slowly starting to warm up, this is a lovely bread to serve outside with an evening drink, drizzled in plenty of olive oil.
If you don’t want to make it as a sourdough bread, there is a yeasted version you could adapt here.
I used some delicious nocellara olives which were almost too delicious to bake with, but you can use whatever olives you fancy.
The evening before you want to bake, feed your starter to ensure it is very active and bubbly for the following morning.
The next day, weigh the starter, water and flour into a large bowl.
Mix well then cover and leave for 30 minutes to autolyse. Next, add the salt and work well into the dough.
Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and prove for 1 hour in a warm place.
Add half the olive oil and gently fold into the dough. To do this, imagine 4 sides. Fold the right side to the left, the left to the right, top to bottom, bottom to top.
Prove for another hour, then add the rest of the olive oil and repeat the folding process. You want to avoid knocking the air out of the dough.
Leave to prove for one remaining hour with one further fold. The dough should be looking pillowy and bubbly. If it doesn’t, give it more time.
Lightly oil a roasting tray with sides and gently pour the dough in. Drizzle with more oil, and then stretch the dough to fill the tray. Leave for 30 minutes.
Drizzle with oil, then add your toppings. Poke dimples into the dough with your fingers and place your olives evenly throughout it, pushing them down into the top, and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. A very little lemon zest is also a nice addition for a variation.
Bake in a hot oven at 250°C for 20-30 minutes until baked through. Keep an eye on the dough, and if it is colouring too fast turn the oven down a little. Leave to cool on a wire rack, drizzle with more oil, and enjoy.