For more information on this delicious bread and it's origins, click here.
If you are baking bread, specifically the Crusty White Loaf, Crusty Spelt Bread and Custy White Sourdough, simply cut off a 500g piece of dough after bulk proof…when you would be doing a final shape on the loaf before putting in a basket/tin. Follow the topping outlined below.
Alternatively if you want it NOW:
½ sachet of Shipton mill organic yeast…about 5g
200g warm water
5g good salt
The organic yeast from the Shipton website is a very superior product and gives a wonderful result. Regular yeast will work also, and if using fresh yeast, use 10g. The recipe will work admirably with wholemeal, or half wholemeal/white but a little more water will be needed. This dough may be refrigerated for later use to good effect.
Mix the yeast into the flour and add the water.
While mixing, add the salt, and form into a soft dough which will be sticky before kneading.
Knead it for a few minutes until it is more soft than sticky. (Tip: It’s a good idea to simply dip your fingers/hands into some flour to commence the kneading, this way the dough won't stick to your hands so much.) Form into a round.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a plastic bag and keep in the warm spot. After 1 hour it should be well active, but can be left for up to 4 hours before use.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a well-floured surface. Gently press the dough out flat, no need to really deflate it. Dust with flour to avoid dough sticking to pin, and roll into a round or rectangle to fit your baking sheet/tray, mine shown is 14 inches/36cm wide. The rule of thumb is that the thickness of the onion layer should be half that of the dough, which means the base is thicker than an ideal pizza base.
Give the tray/sheet a generous brush with EV olive oil.
Place the dough on the tray and brush with ample EV olive oil. Set aside in the warm place to relax for 15 minutes .
Meanwhile, the onions will have been slowly cooking in EV olive oil.
The onions & topping
3 tablespoons EV olive oil.
500g Onions, white or brown, thinly sliced.
2 cloves, finely crushed
2 bay leaves torn into pieces.
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried.
Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
28 anchovy fillets…best you can source.
12 stoned olives..the round black ones from around Nice if possible.
Mix the aromatics with onions and saute in the oil over medium heat for a minute, then turn heat to low and cook slowly for 15 minutes, until soft and sweet.
Spread the onions and oil and all onto the now relaxed base. Arrange the anchovy and olives in a pattern to suit yourself.
Bake at 200 °C for 12-15 minutes. The dough showing through should be golden, and the bottom well-done.
Heretical as it may seem, a very good vegetarian version of this flatbread can be made with either Nori seaweed crumbled into the Onions, or a layer of good Welsh laver bread/laver seaweed paste on the dough before spreading the onions.
Serve warm with good wine and or a soup, or at room temperature with a salad in summer.