Tomato & mozarella foccacia bread

Serves: 8
Course: Main Course
Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • 750g bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 450ml of lukewarm water
  • 1 x 7g sachet of dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • For the topping:
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 500g passata
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 500g mozzarella cheese, grated
  • A good handful of basil, leaves torn
  • Sea salt

This basic bread dough is one to save and use again as it will work for dinner rolls, loaves or even rolled thinly for pizza bases. The topping here is basic but an ode to those wonderful mini focaccia pizza breads I had growing up. Feel free to add toppings of your choice beyond cheese and tomato sauce. The bread can also be transformed with slices of red onion pushed into the dough or a garlic and herb mixture spread across the top before it’s baked.

Place the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and with the back of a spoon make a well. Pour the water into the well with the oil. Slowly combine the wet ingredients with the flour, incorporating in small amounts at a time, until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic and bounces back when pressed with finger tips.

Oil the mixing bowl, place the dough back in, cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once rise, punch down the dough and knead for a further 2-3 minutes.

Form the dough into a large flat rectangular bread, place into a 50x40cm (or two smaller trays) large oiled baking tray.

Mix the garlic with the olive oil and spread over the surface of the bread dough. Poke parts of the dough with your thumb and then sprinkle generously with sea salt. Place in an oven at 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7 for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and spread generously with passata, sprinkle with chilli flakes and mozzarella cheese and basil leaves.

Place back in the oven and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just about to turn golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.