Lorna’s Cooking School with Allyson Gofton: Focaccia

Publish Date
Wednesday, 18 March 2015, 12:59PM

As a busy working mum, I’m always looking for quick and easy ways to feed the family, while still serving delicious and varied meals. So I asked my friend Allyson Gofton to teach me a few tips and tricks in the kitchen! Here she shows me how easy it is to whip up a Focaccia, and AT LAST I learn how to chop an onion with the minimum of fuss!

This dough takes time but it is well worth the effort.

Preparation Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: Makes 2 loaves

1¼ teaspoons active dry yeast or 4 teaspoons Surebake yeast mix
1¼ cups warm water
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
3 cups high grade flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
100 grams grapes, green or black
¾ cup walnuts, chopped roughly
4-6 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped roughly
¼ cup virgin olive oil


  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir in the first measure of olive oil with a pinch of sugar. Leave in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.

  2. Put the flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse to sift.

  3. Turn the food processor on. Pour the frothy yeast liquid slowly down the feed tube and process the soft dough for 1 minute. Add more liquid if necessary. The dough should run around the bowl in one ball and not stick to the sides of the bowl.

  4. Bring the dough together on a floured surface. Place into a large greased bowl, turn over and cover with greased plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in bulk.

  5. Turn the dough out onto a lighly floured surface. Divide in half and roll each half out to a 20-23cm round or square and place on a greased baking tray or, if wished, into greased cake tins. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for 20 minutes.

  6. Press the tips of your fingers into the dough to make the traditional focaccia dents. Press the grapes into these dents and scatter the walnuts, rosemary and the second measure of oil evenly over each focassia. Rest a further 10 minutes.

  7. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve warm drizzled with extra olive oil and sprinkled with flaky salt and fresh rosemary.

To make by hand:

  1. Sponge the yeast as outlined in step 1.

  2. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

  3. Gradually mix in the frothy yeast mixture and when all the flour is almost absorbed, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth. Continue as above.

Cooks Tips:

  • Use half wholemeal and half plain flour.

Find more great recipes from Allyson Gofton at www.allysongofton.co.nz.