Mini Focaccia Bread with Four Toppings
Focaccia is an Italian flat bread made with olive oil.
The flavour of the oil is important, so it's advisable to use a good, strong, fruity virgin olive oil for this. What's good about focaccia is that it gives you scope to invent all kinds of interesting toppings. Below, I have given the basic recipe for making either one full-size focaccia or four mini ones. You can also vary the toppings - that is, if you cut the topping ingredients down to a quarter of the original quantity you can have four minis with a different topping on each as in the photograph.
The Delia Online Cookery School: Watch how to make Focaccia in our Cookery School Video just click the recipe image to play.
This recipe is from Delia's Summer Collection. Makes 1 large or 4 mini focaccia
Begin by sifting the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast and mix that in.
Next pour in 7½ fl oz (210 ml) warm water along with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil and mix everything to a dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean (if necessary you can add a few more drops of water). Now turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes (alternatively you can use an electric mixer with a dough hook and process for 5 minutes).
When the dough feels very bouncy and elastic, return it to the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 1½ hours or more depending on the heat in the kitchen: if there's no suitable warm place you can sit the bowl over a saucepan of warm water – but not over direct heat). After that, turn the dough out on to the work surface and punch the air out by kneading it again for 2-3 minutes. Now it's ready for a topping.
If you are making a full-sized focaccia, pat the dough out into an approximate oval shape 12 x 10 inches (30 x 25 cm), arrange your chosen topping over (or into) the whole thing and proceed as per each recipe - except that the large focaccia will take 25-30 minutes to cook.
For the Rock-salt Topping - top left
Divide the dough into four, put the pieces on an oiled baking-sheet and pull and push each one into shape as described above. Then drizzle the olive oil over the surface or each one and sprinkle the rock salt over. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave for 30 minutes for the dough to puff up. Meanwhile preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C), and bake the focaccias for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.
For the Blue Cheese, Garlic and Thyme Topping - top right
Divide the dough into four, place the pieces on an oiled baking-sheet and pull and push each one into shape. Pat out each piece into a sort of oblong, rounded at the ends and measuring 4 x 3 inches (10 x 7.5 cm). Cover the surface of each one with the thyme leaves and a fairly liberal grinding of black pepper. Next remove the rind from the Gorgonzola and cut the cheese into dice. Sprinkle these over the surface of the four pieces of dough along with the strips of garlic. Now drizzle the olive oil over the surface of the toppings, cover with a damp cloth and leave to puff up again for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C). When the 30 minutes are up, bake the breads in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they are golden round the edges and look well cooked in the centre. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.
For the Basil and Sun-dried Tomato Topping - bottom left
First take 12 of the basil leaves and tear them into small pieces, then push them evenly into the dough. Divide the dough into four pieces, place them on an oiled baking sheet and pull and push them into shape. Gently push the sun-dried tomatoes into the surface of each piece of dough. Next sprinkle the remaining whole basil leaves on to the dough along with the rock salt and finally drizzle the olive oil over the surface of the topping. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave for 30 minutes for the dough to puff up. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C), and bake the focaccias for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.
For the Red Onion, Olive and Rosemary Topping - bottom right
Take two-thirds of the olives and push them evenly into the dough, then divide the dough into four and place the sections on an oiled baking-sheet, then use your hands to pat out each piece into a sort of oblong, rounded at the ends and measuring 4 x 3 inches (10 x 7.5 cm). Next sprinkle a quarter of the remaining olives and a quarter of the rosemary and onions on to each piece. Finally sprinkle the surface with rock salt and drizzle the olive oil all over each focaccia. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave for 30 minutes for the dough to puff up. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C), and bake the focaccias for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.