27 Sep 2013

Red Onion & Balsamic Focaccia Bread


"massively making the most of your mums' fancy kitchen equipment"

A couple of weeks ago, while summer was still in full swing and before the big move, I had the sudden realisation that I should probably be taking every opportunity to bake some yummy things in my parents' kitchen. It is nice and clean and full of available ingredients and lots of baking equipment (whilst I promise I do try to keep my own kitchenette here clean at least, I've not yet come across the appropriate moment in life to purchase, say, measuring spoons, a mixer, or a variety of tins/trays. That would be to accept adulthood) so I set about making a couple of favourite recipes. Namely - bread! Italian bread, focaccia, with lots of olive oil and caramelised onions on top. It's a classic Mary Berry (Maz Bez) recipe *bow down*.

For the bread:
 400g strong white flour
100g semolina
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 level teaspoon salt
7g dried yeast
300ml warm water

Measure all the bread ingredients into a bowl and mix (either by hand or with a dough hook in a mixer if you, like me, are lazy/besotted with a shiny Artisan minx) until you have a sticky but smooth dough. Knead for 5 minutes, before popping in an oiled bowl and covering with clingfilm. Leave to double in size (about one and a half hours).

 For the topping:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large sliced red onions
1 and a half teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 level teaspoon sugar
1 level teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
a sprinkle of sea salt

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the chopped onions and stir fry for a few minutes over a high heat. They look so pretty there glistening in the oil, don't they? Then turn the heat down, cover with a lid, and cook slowly until the onions are soft.

 Once your onions are cooked (and smelling divine) turn the heat back up and add the vinegar and sugar. Stir fry until it goes all brown and caramel like. At this point I realised we had approximately zero thyme in the house, not even dried, so I grabbed a handful of basil which worked just as well since we were eating this with Italian food anyway. Chop/rip up and chuck in your herbs (I'd forgotten I threw in some dried chives too, in case this wasn't onion-y enough...), plus a little salt, and leave to cool.

By this point your dough will have reached that gorgeous pilowy-soft stage. Unfortunately you must now pummel it a little. Knock it back by hand for about 5 minutes, before rolling it into a rectangle and popping it into your lined baking tray (about 16in x 11in) or - as I preferred - skip the rolling out and just smush it in there. It's rustic, a'ight? Spread the onion mixture over the top of the dough and - this is where breathtaking patience comes in - you must now cover it again and leave for another 30 minutes. It's a faff yes, but it's worth it. Because after you put it in the oven (200 degrees for about 25 minutes please and thankyou) when it comes out it looks like this!

Mine poofed up abit more than I'd planned, maybe I didn't put quite enough oil in there, but let me tell you this is the softest, tastiest tear-n-share bread. It makes the whole kitchen smell like you've TARDIS-ed it over to the Mediterranean, and is amazing with some cold wine and salty olives.

Next time I post a baking blog it will look a lil different being from the kitchen of my student pad!


PS I want to follow more baking blogs! So do please leave me yours in the comments! Thank you beauts.


  1. Omg this looks so tasty! Love your blgo...did you want to follow each other? If so just let us know :) xx


  2. oh my god this looks and sounds delicious, so jealous of your mummys kitchen aid!x