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Tomato, Red Onion and Blue Cheese Focaccia

Like almost everyone in the country who loves to bake, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with the Great British Bake Off again this year! It is inevitable that it will influence my blogging over the next few weeks as they work their way through the themes.

As I was watching the episode last week (on bread, if you didn’t see it!) I was reminded of this delicious focaccia. It’s my own recipe and I first made it on Boxing Day a few years ago when we had family over for lunch. It went down a storm and I’ve made it several times since then but for one reason or another haven’t made it in a while.

So, with the bake off fresh in my head and a craving for this bread, I decided to make it and share the recipe with you lucky lucky readers 🙂

Please don’t be put off by the blue cheese in this recipe if it’s not to your taste. Simply use your favourite melting cheese instead; or even leave it out if you want to! It will still be delicious. Do play around with the recipe too if you like. You could add herbs or spices into the bread mix or perhaps top with olives, pesto or something else exotic… The bread is yours to do as you wish!

I make this dough in my KitchenAid, since it is quite a wet dough and will be quite sticky to work with by hand, but it can be done if you don’t have a mixer and it will be a lot of messy fun along the way! For tips on how to tell if your dough has been kneaded enough, have a look as these excellent images from the kitchn. 

You’ll notice I use COLD water in my recipe and this may seem counter-intuitive to those used to using warm water. I prefer this as the bread needs a longer rise which also means it has more time to develop that all-important flavour.

So, here we go…!

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Tomato, Red Onion and Blue Cheese Focaccia
A delicious yet simple focaccia piled with yummy toppings.
  • 350g strong white flour
  • 1 sachet/7g easy bake yeast
  • 5g salt
  • 225ml COLD water
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 50g blue cheese
1. Place the flour, yeast, salt, water and 1tbsp olive oil into the bowl of your mixer and turn on low to combine thoroughly.2. Knead on a moderate speed for 5-10 minutes, checking every few minutes using the window pane test (see link above) to see when it is sufficiently kneaded.3. Once the dough has been worked enough, form into a ball, cover the bowl with cling film and leave at room temperature to prove until doubled in size. This will take around 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.4. Meanwhile, slice your onion and place it in a bowl with the tomatoes. Pour over the balsamic vinegar and 2tbsp olive oil then cover with cling film and place into the fridge to marinate.5. Once the dough is proved, tip out onto a work surface and press lightly to release any large pockets of air. Oil a baking tray and place the dough onto it, then press out to the desired shape. Remember that this will rise again to double in size, so don’t make it too thick at this stage. Cover again with lightly oiled cling film and leave for 1/2 hour at room temperature. At this point, turn on your oven to 250ºC or its highest temperature.6. Top the bread with the onions and tomatoes, pushing them lightly down into the dough. Crumble the cheese into small pieces and push those into the dough too then spoon over enough of the marinade to lightly cover the dough and smooth over with your fingers. Leave for 10 mins for the dough to slightly rise around the toppings.7. Place into the very hot oven for 10 mins, then turn the oven down to 200ºC and bake for a further 10 mins. Remove from the oven when the bread is golden and the onions are cooked and slightly crisp.8. This bread is best served warm, so leave to cool for a little while before tucking in!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 medium focaccia

For more great bread recipes, check out these from other bloggers:

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