Focaccia is the perfect bread-making entry point for people who aren’t confident about their ability to make bread. It’s supremely easy and supremely versatile; it can be gussied up simply with a solid sprinkle of sea salt, or taken to the next level with an array of stuffings, like this version from Sydney fire-fuelled restaurant Poetica.

“For the filling you can really use anything you like,” Poetica’s head chef Connor Hartley-Simpson tells Broadsheet. “At Poetica, we use capers, chilli paste, garlic oil and a mix of cheeses. Mozzarella is good because you get that stretchy, stringy melted cheese that everyone likes. Feel free to play around with the fillings.”

At Poetica the focaccia is offered as a starter, but this golden-brown knockout will also shine among a spread of picky bits, or as the main event at lunch.

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Poetica’s focaccia

Makes 2 pizza tray-sized focaccia
Preparation time: 2 hours, including proofing and refrigerating
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
Wet mix
216g lukewarm water
12g olive oil, plus extra for oiling and brushing
3g dry yeast
3g sugar

Dry mix
340g plain flour
15g sugar
3g milk powder
2g dry yeast

Method
Grease two pizza trays.

Mix all the wet mix ingredients together and let sit for 10 minutes.

Place all the dry mix ingredients into a separate mixing bowl.

If you have a mixer, attach the dough hook and mix on medium speed. Otherwise, get your hands ready for some kneading. Slowly add the wet mix to the dry mix. Mix for 10 minutes (longer if kneading) until smooth and then place into a large, oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and let proof (rise) for 1 hour.

Separate into 4 x 100g balls. Roll one out and stretch over a greased pizza tray (you want the dough to be super thin, almost see-through). Place desired filling on top. Roll out another ball and stretch over the top of the filling. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Do the same for the second pizza tray. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes before cooking.

Preheat your oven to max temperature. If you have a pizza oven, this would be a great time to use it. Bake for 7–10 minutes. Bake the focaccia as hot and as quickly as you can, so you get a super crispy texture on top – you want it to be well-coloured on top but not burnt. Serve hot.

poetica.sydney