Flower focaccia recipe
A real showstopper of a bake, decorate this golden focaccia with different herbs and veggies for a bake that looks as good as it tastes. See method
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g sachet quick-action dried yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing and brushing
- 5 parsley sprigs, leaves picked, thick stalks reserved
- 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons, larger strips halved lengthways
- 3 pitted black olives, roughly chopped
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and cut into 1cm slices
- 1 small red onion
- 8-10 fresh sage leaves
- 4 cherry tomatoes, 1 halved, 3 quartered, seeds removed
- 24 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
Be creative: Use whatever vegetables you like
Each serving contains
of the reference intake
Put the flour in a large bowl and stir in the yeast, then the sugar, then the salt, making sure each ingredient is mixed in before adding the next. Make a well in the centre and pour in 40ml oil and 350-400ml lukewarm water; mix to form a sticky dough.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead with floured hands for 10 mins until smooth and elastic. It will be sticky, but if it’s too difficult to knead, dust with a little flour. Shape into a ball.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and loosely cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1½ hrs or until doubled in size.
Knock the dough back by kneading it briefly in the bowl. This helps to redistribute the air bubbles that form when it’s rising, so you get an even distribution and a more consistent texture throughout the cooked bread. Lightly grease a 25 x 35cm baking sheet. Tip in the dough and spread it out to roughly fit. Cover again and leave in a warm place for 30-45 mins until roughly doubled in size and a gentle fingerprint made in the surface leaves a small indentation. The dough has proved enough when you can see visible bubbles and it springs back slowly after a gentle poke, leaving a small indentation. If the indentation springs back completely right away, let it prove a little longer. Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C.
Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil, then use your fingertips to make deep indentations all over the dough. To decorate, stick the thick parsley stalks into the dough to resemble stems. Roll up the carrot strips to make ‘rosebuds’, then place among the stalks, adding a few parsley leaves underneath. For ‘poppies’, put pieces of chopped olive in the middle of each chilli slice and place among the stalks. Cut 3 slices from the centre of the red onion and arrange on the dough, decorating their stalks with sage leaves. Arrange the tomatoes and peppercorns either side of the stalks to create flowers. Decorate with a few extra parsley and sage leaves. Using a small pastry brush, brush the decorations with a little oil.
Bake for 20-22 mins until golden, covering with foil for the last 5 mins if the toppings are browning too much. Drizzle with 45ml oil and scatter with the sea salt. Cool in the tin for 25 mins until just warm to the touch, then serve.
Tip: The decoration looks tricky but it's really easy. Experiment with a variety of herbs, seeds and vegetables.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.
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