500g organic ciabatta flour
400g water (room temp)
5g salt if you have salty toppings, up to 10g otherwise
7g instant yeast
Olive oil for drizzling
Herbs and toppings of your choosing
1. Mix yeast, water, salt and flour in a bowl to form a shaggy mass. Leave 30 mins.
2. Add a handful of chopped herbs to the bowl and drizzle a little oil over them (Skip the herbs if you like). With wet hands, lift one edge of your dough up and slap it down in the middle. Repeat this, working your way round the edge (maybe 5 - 10 stretch and slaps) until you have a smooth ball. Leave until 50% increase in volume, around 20 mins.
3. Separate into two pieces, and place in oiled trays. I used 25cm x 40cm trays, but whatever you have is fine, nothing wrong with one thicker focaccia! Roughly shape your pieces by gently tucking the edges under with oiled hands. Leave about 10 mins to relax the dough.
4. Drizzle a glug of oil on top of the dough and gently stretch it out, stop when it offers resistance. Leave 10mins, then stretch a final time (add more oil if needed to stop it sticking to your hands) to get your finished size. Let rise until puffy and bubbly, probably around 20-30 mins. Use this final rise time to prep any toppings and preheat the oven to 240C.
5. Add your toppings and poke your fingers down into the dough a few times to dimple it (this stops it rising too much in the oven and separating the top and bottom crusts like a pitta bread). Pop in the hot oven, turn down down to 200C and cook until golden brown, around 20 mins.
My toppings were 'arranged' to cater for 4 children with different tastes. I had a random mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano and marjoram. Topped with balsamic onions and garlic, olives, cherry tomatoes and cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.
You really can add what you like. Fresh rosemary and a sprinkle of sea salt is lovely and classic. Enjoy!