• Paul West's fresh, homemade foccacia is a real treat. (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns

Focaccia is such a flavour-packed and versatile bread to bake.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (101 votes)

Deeply enriched with olive oil, baked to golden brown and topped with whatever takes your fancy, it’s a meal in its own right.


  • 500 g strong (bread) flour
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 14 g dried active yeast
  • 30 ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading and drizzling
  • 400 ml water
  • 2 tsp salt flakes
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Proving time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Combine the flour, yeast and salt together in a bowl. Combine the olive oil and water and then slowly add it to flour mixture, using your hands to knead the dough in the bowl. Once a dough has formed, develop it further by stretching it and folding it back in on itself for a few minutes. Next, add a good splash of olive oil to a deep-sided baking tray and knead the dough for another 5 minutes in the oil. Cover the tray and let the bread prove for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Fold the dough in on itself a few times, trying to incorporate as much of the oil as possible. Leave the dough to rise for another 30 minutes – 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Turn the dough over in the tray, making sure to get it well covered in oil. Now push the dough down to evenly fill the baking tray, then use your fingertips to make indents all over the dough. Drizzle over some more oil, some flaky salt and gently push the sliced onion into the surface. Sprinkle over the chilli flakes and rosemary and leave to prove for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

Bake the focaccia until the dough is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven, allow to cool slightly and then slice and enjoy fresh.


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Tiffany Louise Page. Creative concept by Belinda So.


Paul West is the host of River Cottage Australia, 6pm weeknights on SBS and on SBS On Demand. For more recipes from Paul, click here.