400 g strong white bread flour , plus extra for dusting
100 g fine ground semolina flour or strong white bread flour
1 sachet dried yeast
½ tablespoon golden caster sugar
300 ml water , lukewarm
extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions , finely sliced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme , leaves picked
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
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This focaccia is not fussy. It’s the kind of thing you can get excited about making on a Saturday afternoon. I often throw the ingredients in a food processor, whiz it up then leave it overnight. This bread, along with some lovely salad and cold leftover chicken, would also make a great dinner.
Place the flours and ½ tablespoon of sea salt into a large bowl, and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, and mix with a fork. Leave this for a few minutes and, when it starts to foam, slowly pour it into the well, mixing with a fork as you go.
As soon as all the ingredients come together, which may take a minute or so, knead vigorously for around 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
Lightly oil a large bowl with some olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Dust with a little extra flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 and prepare the toppings.
For the balsamic onion topping, fry the sliced onions and thyme leaves in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, reduce for a minute or two, then leave to cool.
For the basil and cherry tomato topping, roughly chop the basil leaves and pop them into a bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a tiny splash of white wine vinegar. Add the garlic and mix it all.
To cook the focaccia, as soon as the dough has risen, pound it then place on a baking tray and spread it out to cover the tray. Push down roughly on top of the dough like a piano to make lots of rough dips and wells.
Divide the onion and the tomato toppings over two thirds of the focaccia. For the three-cheese and rosemary topping, break up the Taleggio and the goat’s cheese over the remaining third of the focaccia. Sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and rosemary leaves and season with pepper. Finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Leave to prove for a further 20 minutes then bake for 20 minutes, until golden on top and soft in the middle.