Fennel, Black Olive and Sage Focaccia
- By Jo Ingleby Jo Ingleby
Place the flour in a large bowl. In a measuring jug add the yeast to the warm water and sugar and leave it to bubble for 5 minutes. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and then the olive oil and salt. Stir the water into the flour until it has all combined; the dough should not be too wet or dry, add water or flour if needed. Knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth. Place in a bowl and allow to prove for around an hour until it doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 200c
Slice the fennel into thin slices, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place into a metal tin. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes so that it is softened and golden.
Take the cooked fennel out of the tin and keep the tin for cooking the bread; you need it to still have a light coating of oil to stop the bread from sticking.
Pour a little olive oil onto a clean work surface and tip the dough out. Add half of the cooked fennel and all of the olives, ground fennel seeds, salt and pepper and roughly fold into the dough. Form the dough into a rectangular shape, carefully pick it up and place it in the baking tin. Push the dough into the corners of the tin and use your fingers to make holes all over the bread dough. Into these holes push the sage leaves. Scatter the rest of the cooked fennel over the top, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Leave for another 20-30 minutes to rise again. Bake the bread in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the bread has risen and is golden. Allow to cool and then carefully remove from the tin.