Nothing beats tender, delicious focaccia straight from the oven. This wonderful flatbread is made from a blend of flour made from the ancient grain spelt and bread flour. Using spelt gives it a slightly nutty flavor and rustic texture that will transport you to the Italian countryside. It's topped with red onion and spicy arugula, making it the perfect appetizer to any spring meal.

Red Onion Focaccia [Vegan]

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Serves

10-12 slices

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Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 1 tablespoon barley malt (quickly heated up prior to use)
  • 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • Enough lukewarm water to give the dough a soft, sticky texture (start with 1/3 cup and take it from
  • there)
  • 2 cups plus 2 3/4 tablespoons spelt or wholemeal flour
  • 2 cups strong white bread flour (plus extra for the worktop to avoid sticking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Baking Process:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, plus some salt flakes

For the Topping:

  • 3 large red onions
  • A pinch of salt
  • Olive oil for pan frying
  • 1-2 handfuls of washed rocket leaves
  • A sprinkle of rosemary
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Preparation

  1. Quickly heat the barley malt (important!). Then dissolve the malt in around 1/3 cup of lukewarm water and add the yeast.
  2. Put the two flours in a large bowl and mix until combined. Then make a hole in the center of the bowl containing the flour and fill it with the oil and the yeast/barley/water mixture. Sprinkle some extra flour onto your worktop, start kneading, and add more water very carefully until you have the right consistency. Then knead until a silky, slightly sticky dough has been formed (around 5 minutes or so).
  3. Leave the dough to rise in the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen cloth for 40 min in the oven with the oven lights on. The lights create a bit of heat in the oven which will allow the dough to rise perfectly.
  4. After the 40 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl, knead it again briefly and then place it on a large baking sheet or tray (which has been covered with non-stick baking paper) stretching the dough into a flat bread shape, about 3/4-inch thick. Leave to rise again in a warm spot for about 25 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 390°F.
  6. Before placing your focaccia dough in the oven, using all five of your fingers on 1 hand, make deep holes in the dough whilst slightly stretching the dough so the holes don't close up immediately. Then quickly whisk together the 120ml water, olive oil, and salt and cover the dough with this liquid. Place the dough in the hot oven for about 30 minutes or until just golden brown.
  7. Whilst the dough is in the oven prepare the toppings by peeling and then chopping the red onions finely. Fry them in a dash of olive oil over a low to medium heat until soft and translucent, around 10 minutes or so. Add some salt to taste, then set aside.
  8. When the focaccia is ready, remove it from the oven, cover it with the pan fried red onions, fresh arugula leaves and a sprinkle of rosemary.
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