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Recipe of the week: Valentine's Focaccia

Niamh Woodhouse

Thursday, 9 February 2023

For this week's recipe, our editor-in-chief, Niamh puts a romantic twist on a classic Italian bread.

Difficulty: 2/5

Time: 2 hours 30 minutes (including proving)

Origin: Italy

Delicious, simple to make and requiring a few basic ingredients, Focaccia is a popular bread across Italy and beyond. You can easily bake this in your student kitchen for all your loved ones this Valentine’s.


500g strong bread flour , plus extra for dusting (plain flour works just fine if you don’t have any)

7g dried fast action yeast

2 tsp fine sea salt

5 tbsp olive oil , plus extra for the tin and to serve

1 pack of plum tomatoes

1 mozzarella ball or pearls

Additional garnish to your taste


Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl, with the yeast on one side and the fine salt on the other. Mix the yeast and salt into its side then mix everything together. This separation prevents the salt from killing the yeast, to begin with.​

Next make a well in the middle of the flour and add 2 tbsp oil. Gradually add about 350ml lukewarm water until you have a slightly sticky dough. You may find you need a little less or a little more water. Sprinkle the work surface with flour and tip the dough onto it. Knead for 5-10 mins until your dough is soft and less sticky. Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a towel and leave to prove for around an hour until doubled in size.

Oil a rectangle, shallow tin (the one I used was 25 x 35cm). Then tip the dough out of the bowl and stretch it to fill the tin. Once again cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for another 35-45 mins.


In the meantime, you can prepare your valentines decorations. To make the tomato hearts, I cut diagonally across my plum tomatoes (as shown in the photo below) then cut the larger piece in half and flipped them over to create a heart shape. I then cut the mozzarella into bite-sized pieces to place onto the dough.  

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples. Drizzle 1-2tbsp of olive oil over the dough and garnish to your taste, I used sea salt and thyme. Then decorate with your tomato hearts and mozzarella pieces.

Bake for 20 mins until golden. Whilst the bread is still hot, drizzle over 1-2 tbsp olive oil. And then you’re ready to serve! Focaccia goes perfectly with a pasta dish, an Italian traybake or simply as a sandwich.

Let us know if you recreate this recipe!



About the Author

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Images provided by Niamh Woodhouse.

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Niamh Woodhouse Bread Italian Valentine's Day


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