1 tsp salt
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
350-400ml buttermilk (or sour milk)
1 red onion, cut into six wedges lengthways, then halve the wedges crossways
12 black or green pitted olives (stones removed)
A few sprigs of rosemary, broken into 12 little pieces
50-75ml olive oil
Sea salt, such as Maldon
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.
Preheat the oven to 230°C.
Brush the inside of a small Swiss roll tin or roasting tray generously with olive oil. Sieve the dry ingredients, and make a well in the centre. Pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand shaped like a claw, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more buttermilk if necessary. The dough should be soft, but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a floured board and roll it out. Make little wells for the olive oil using the tips of your fingers. Place the 12 red onion chunks on the raw dough (3 across and 4 down, so that there are 12 altogether). Beside the red onion, press in a pitted olive and a sprig of rosemary. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake in a hot oven at 230°C for about 30 minutes or until cooked. When cooked, the bread should be nice and golden on the top and bottom.
If the bread reaches a nice golden colour and you don’t want it to darken any more, during cooking, reduce heat to 200°C and continue cooking.
When the focaccia is cooked but still hot, drizzle over a little olive oil. Allow to cool slightly before serving.