Sun dried tomato, roast pepper and caramelised red onion focaccia   

This is a rich Italian bread characterised by dimples, which act as little pockets for olive oil or your filling of choice. These flavours are a nice mix of sweet and sour but experiment with your own. 


  • 500g flour
  • 10g salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs, optional
  • 335g water
  • 10g fresh yeast/5g dried yeast
  • 100g olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons to pour on the focaccia

To garnish

  • 100g sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 roasted peppers
  • 100g caramelised red onion
  • Sea salt flakes to finish

Makes 1 large or 2 medium loaves 



  1. Mix the flour, salt and herbs in a bowl or on a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Crumble the yeast into the water so that it dissolves, then add it to the well, along with the 100g of olive oil.
  2. Bring together with your hands or a spatula, then turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes or until you can see the windowpane effect. Don’t panic if you find your dough a little wet. Be persistent: as you knead the dough will slowly come together, resist the urge to add any additional flour.
  3. Once ready, the dough should be soft and elastic. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and allow to prove for 60 minutes.
  4. After it has proved, knock back the dough, cut it into two equal pieces and form each piece into a ball. Lightly press each ball with your fingertips to flatten it, slowly working the dough out like a pizza base. Try not to rip or tear the dough with your fingers. The dough has a natural tendency to shrink, therefore it is best to work the dough in stages. Roughly shape the first piece of dough into a round slightly bigger than a side plate, place to one side and allow to rest as you work on the second dough.
  5. Continue pressing and forming the dough circles until they are about 1cm thick. The dough should resemble a thick crust pizza base. Push your fingertips into the surface to create dimples, transfer the dough to a baking tray, then pour on the remaining olive oil, smoothing it over the surface and pushing in more dimples if needed.
  6. Add your chosen toppings, pushing the toppings gently into the dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove for 45 minutes.
  7. Just before baking,top each focaccia with sea salt. Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas mark 8. Bake the focaccia for about 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.
  8. Once cooked,drizzle with olive oil and allow to cool.

Recipe Series: Breaking Bread

Discover the joys of baking your own bread with expert baker Patrick Ryan of the Firehouse Bakery, who takes us back to basics and beyond.

Recipes in this series:

Patrick Ryan

Patrick Ryan

Patrick Ryan