Handful of torn, fresh basil leaves ( or fresh herb of your choice)
300mls llukewarm, hand hot water
For Basil, Cherry Tomato & Red Onion topping
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, stalks as well- roughly torn
1 Large handful ripe, aromatic cherry tomatoes- chopped
1 Large handful sliced, black olives
pinch sea salt, freshly ground black pepper & pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
4 Cloves garlic finely sliced
2 Red onions finely sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
grated strong, mature cheddar or cheese of your choice
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Mix flour with salt in mixer bowl, add sugar & yeast
Add torn basil leaves or other fresh herb if using- mix together
Attach dough hook, turn machine on low initially, gradually add warm water, until dough starts to come together-- you may not need all the water!
Increase the mixer speed & knead vigorously until smooth, springy & soft
Rub inside of bowl with Olive Oil, replace dough, cover with oiled Clingfilm, leave to rise in a warm place until doubled/trebled in size.
Pre-heat oven 200°c, place oven shelf just above centre, make your topping.
In a large bowl add basil leaves & tomatoes, season with salt & pepper & add chilli flakes if using, add garlic & olives, mix well
Heat 2tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan on low heat, add onions & sauté gently until nicely soft, gently tip in basil & tomato mixture, stir continuously, increase heat to medium, ,add balsamic & white wine vinegar, cook further 1-2minutes until reduced slightly. Empty into a bowl & leave to cool.
Once dough has risen, punch it down, knead gently on a surface lightly dusted with flour, divide equally into 4 pieces.
Lightly grease 4 shallow 8"cake tins- set aside.
Gently spread out dough using finger tips to make deep wells, place in tin & spread gently to the edge, continue same way with other 3 pieces.
Divide basil mix evenly between dough & spread gently, top with sprinkling of cheddar to taste preference, or other type of hard cheese of choice, add any juices as well. Leave to prove for further 15-20mins, no need to cover. If oven has room - place in oven & bake 20mins, otherwise bake 2 at a time, will be done - when bottom of tin sounds hollow when gently tapped.
Leave to cool in tins for 10-15mins so dough will absorb all the lovely juices! Remove gently (you may need to run a small spatula around the rim to loosen the cooked focaccia, then gently place on cooling rack- Enjoy cut into wedges
I made this up as I went along- so please let me know if any mistakes or discrepancies are noted- thanks- Debbie