Recipe: Tomato, feta and tapenade 'focaccia'
In Israel, every bakery and café sells what they call ‘focaccia’, but that bears no resemblance to the dimpled, Italian, squishy breads of that name. Instead they are thinner, chewy flatbreads, topped or filled with the most divine ingredients. Some of the best are to be found at Zomer, a tiny boutique bakery in Tel Aviv, where they make stunning granola bread, date bread, spiced gougères, breadsticks filled with tuna and tomato, and this ‘focaccia’ bread. The recipe, which they kindly gave to me, is unusual because the water content is so high and the yeast content so low; the dough has to be handled carefully, so follow the instructions below to the letter.
1kg strong white bread flour
5g instant yeast
2 tsp salt
650ml tepid water
50ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling and greasing
1 x 165g jar of black olive tapenade
6 tomatoes, thinly sliced
200g feta cheese
fresh thyme leaves
Put the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a free-standing mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in 100ml of the tepid water and the olive oil and mix in slowly.
Little by little, add the rest of the water, stirring all the time, allowing the flour to absorb the water before adding more or you will end up with a sloppy mess. Be patient – this might take about half an hour. By the end, your paste-like dough will have been kneaded well and will be smooth and elastic, though still very wet.
With oiled hands, divide the dough into 10 equal portions and work each piece into a flat shape, around 20cm long. Place on two lightly oiled baking sheets, covered with oiled cling film, and allow to prove for around 30 minutes, or until a little puffier but still pretty flat.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 8.
Spread each flatbread with tapenade and top with slices of tomato. Crumble over a little feta, scatter with thyme leaves and drizzle a few drops of olive oil over the top.
Bake for about 8–10 minutes, until the base is cooked through.
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