Baking| Ottolenghis Brilliant Focaccia … doesn’t get better than this!

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.”
M.F.K. Fisher

Ottolenghis FocacciaIt was bread baking day. Sometime days are like that, now rather rare, and with a relatively ‘free’ day comes the urge to make bread. Chatting with Sangeeta on FB, she was sipping her morning tea, me already on my second coffee and the laundry whirring annoyingly, I was hit with a ‘bread baking feeling . By afternoon I had a brilliant Focaccia bursting with flavour yelling to get out of the oven!Ottolenghis FocacciaThe bread recipe caught me by surprise. In my head I had a slightly quicker bread, something which would just do a single rise, yeast & all. I turned to one of my all time favourite books, Ottolenghi, The Cookbook but didn’t read the recipe thoroughly though …Ottolenghis Focaccia I always heel ‘happy’ when I read the book – so much quality food, fresh produce holding the key to the end result, recipes from the heart, colours and flavours that leap out of the pages … and photographs that tantalise the tastebuds! Even if I don’t cook / bake out of it, it keeps me strangely satisfied!Ottolenghis Focaccia I weighed the ingredients, added the water … and took a double take! This was just the starter, or a preferment! There was going to be LOTS of bread! For some reason the elder teen rejects bread these days because of her diet, cutting back carbs etc, yet the rainy weather had me in a bread baking frame of mind!! I wanted to bake real bread, slow bread … not a quick, non yeast bread!Ottolenghis Focaccia Thankfully the trusted Thermomix is always at hand and takes the work out of kneading. There was plenty of rising to happen. First the preferment, then the 1st rise, then some folding {almost like rough puff pastry}, then some more rise. All this folding and rising resulted in a delightfully nice dough… and in turn, a delightfully nice bread!Ottolenghis Focaccia I baked half on day one and punched down the other half and refrigerated it for day two. NICE!! It was even better the next day with a third slow rise in the fridge … and ‘bubbly and squeaky‘ as Dorie Greenspan would call it! It’s a beautiful dough to have in the fridge. Both days the bread didn’t last long… quite an addictive bake!Ottolenghis Focaccia Even the dieting diva loved it and couldn’t stop nibbling. It’s no nice and chewy she declared! That’s the beauty of Ottolenghis recipes…they ALWAYS deliver. The kids had focaccia sandwiches for dinner that night with chicken salami, homemade pesto and mozzarella. The verdict – ♥♥♥!Ottolenghis FocacciaThe dehydrated tomatoes from Fab India were SO disappointing; I’m not going back there in a hurry! On the other hand, the queen olives stuffed with pimento from Leonardo are absolute winners. That jar’s not safe once it’s open … you cannot keep away from it … delectable! So is the Leonardo Gold Olive Oil that I slathered on top … it just made the bread sing!!Ottolenghis FocacciaIt’s a bread I am going to make often. I like that it baked even better the next day, so maybe the next time I leave it in the fridge for a slow overnight rise. Bread baking days are here again … and I’m loving it!! I am also excited as I have a sourdough starter from Sangeeta on my counter {it’s alive and bubbling I think} and I can see more bread in the coming days!

Other recipes from Ottolenghi on PAB

Ricotta and Spinach Roulade
Dried Cranberry & Walnut Bread
Chargrilled Broccoli Salad
Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting
Olive Oil Crackers
Preserved Limes
Milled Nut Flour Macarons with Dark Chocolate Ganache
Individual Cherry & Plum Clafoutis

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. Sheer gorgeousness!

  2. It is breathtaking beautiful. So much magic in your kitchen. Love it.
    Ansh´s last blog post ..Sweet potato soup – Indian inspiredMy Profile

  3. The bread that makes me go week in my knees :-)
    The pictures add to the trauma :(
    Awesome you are!!!
    sangeeta khanna´s last blog post ..a gluten free Panforte : dried prunes, figs and nuts together in a yummy dense cake…My Profile

  4. Beautiful and so appetizing! Ottolenghi’s creations are simply fantastic.



  5. The bread looks delicious. I would love to try it only I do not have the thermomix. How do I go about baking it.
    Archana´s last blog post ..Fast Food Not Fat Food~ Oil/butter ChallengeMy Profile

  6. This is a gorgeous bread, and I can only imagine how good it smells…and tastes. I wish I could create such a masterpiece in the oven!
    Lyndsey@TinySkillet´s last blog post ..Black Rice PastaMy Profile

  7. Gorgeous photos, Deeba! And I agree – Ottolenghi’s cooking is brilliant! ~ David

  8. I love foccacia and this really does take it to the next level!
    Sawsan (Chef in disguise)´s last blog post ..Horaa osbao حراق اصبعه ” رقاقه و عدس”My Profile

  9. The foccacia looks awesome!
    Cherine´s last blog post ..Sfouf with molasses (Sfouf bi debes)My Profile

  10. Looking too delicious and too easy too cook. cooking to food is my passion. Its very excited to make foccacia(awesome recipe) Thanks to sharing

  11. Its looking delicious and awesome

  12. Looks fab. Try it with pitted Greek olives and walnut halves.

  13. Amy Brant says:

    Lo9oks fab. Next time try it with pitted Greek olives and walnut halves.

  14. Its looks soo good that I want a bite now :))
    Runnergirlinthekitchen´s last blog post ..Moving out of my comfort zone with – Pressure Cooker BreadMy Profile

  15. Spectacular photos of a lovely foccacia! Yotam Ottolenghi is a culinary wizard. I’ve been working my way through his book Plenty, and marvel at his genius. You did him proud with this post.

  16. So many tempting photos to get me in the mood for baking bread on this cool day.
    belllii´s last blog post ..Dreaming of Italy with Pietro’s Linguine al PorciniMy Profile

  17. Dear Deeba I adore Focaccia and your look amazing dear I print this recipe LOL
    xxx gloria
    gloria´s last blog post ..Lemon little puddingsMy Profile

  18. this idea of slow rising foccacia is brilliant. Can this be made using fresh yeast, as I am finding it difficult to source active dry yeast here. And whatever I get in the name of dry yeast, is almost useless. This is what stopping me from baking breads. Need to be saved !!!
    Himanshu @ The White Ramekins´s last blog post ..Tiramisu on a plateMy Profile

  19. Oh it is a beauty! A beauty! And now that the weather is cooling down, I am in the mood to bake breads and focaccia studded with olives, dried tomatoes and anything bursting with flavors like this. Yours is so pretty and I’ve not tried Ottolenghi’s recipe yet!
    Jamie´s last blog post ..TWELVE LOAVES CHEESE & BACON FOCACCIAMy Profile

  20. Yum! It looks beautiful! I’m sure it tasted delicious as well!
    Amanda´s last blog post ..Five Photos from BostonMy Profile

  21. That’s one gorgeous bread! Totally irresistible!

  22. Gorgeoussssssssssssssss! Can you hear me singing?! I was tentative for a long time about Ottelenghi as I was very familiar with his food growing up in the same place as he was. But then, I fell for him hard. I just received Plenty I read the forward and felt inspired and looked at the recipes from cover to cover. Ottelenghi is re published in 2013 and I can;t wait but wait wait first Jerusalem the Cookbook in October, This focaccia is gorgeous!
    foodwanderings´s last blog post ..ChallahMy Profile

  23. what is vital gluten? Is there a substitute?

    • Annu…I don’t get enriched bread flour here so add some gluten to it. You can use normal flour too {substitute the vital for normal} which is how I used to bake before.

  24. shivani sood says:

    wow! look at that crust. I am hungry.

  25. Jessica says:

    Its a beautiful kind of recipe…I would love to try it…Thanks a lot for sharing this kind of post..

  26. Looks absoloutly delicious! Need to give this a whirl!
    Dave Norman´s last blog post ..Ctrl-Alt-Delete Cup SetMy Profile

  27. The bread looks wonderful.
    Joy´s last blog post ..No food Friday – First day of SchoolMy Profile

  28. Hey, you say that the dough was even better the 2nd day. So you knocked the first rise and than put in in the frige? And the next day you thake it out, shape it mix it with the olives and let is rise again or what do you do then 😉 ?

    • Yes Shan, that’s what I do. After I take it out of the fridge and shape it, it needs enough time to come to room temperature and then rise. Then on with the toppings and into the oven it goes!

  29. I love this Deeba! I have eyed it several times in the book, what a gorgeous resource of recipes that book is! Your bread looks amazing.
    Sneh | Cook Republic´s last blog post ..Thai Prawn Mango Salad With Nam Jim DressingMy Profile

  30. so inspired …made this 3 times already …my family love this…
    have a look

  31. Shivani Jain says:

    Hi Deeba
    Lovely bread..tell me which yeast u use..ive tried whichever was available in market…none of them it royal/blue bird/Muska..none of them worked for me..can u plzz tell me which one do u use..n where u buy it available online..???And onething more u said instead of Vital Gluten we can use normal flour..u mean atta..?? and in what quantity..And the plain flour u have used for is maida..right..??

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