Focaccia with olives, rosemary and lemon

Photographer: Adam

This recipe was originally developed for one of our premium built-in ovens and has become something of a classic down here in Dunedin.  I think half the office would have it in their repertoires!  I have been known to work my way through a whole one myself over a Sunday afternoon lounging around reading the newspaper—it’s just so more-ish.

Feel free to play around with the topping, I tend to use whatever I have on hand—red onion, red pepper and a little fresh chilli instead of olives and rosemary is delicious, as is a little cheese added to the mix.  It is great on its own fresh from the oven, but if you do feel like sharing it makes a great addition to an antipasto platter.

The dough can be made in a bread maker or by hand, just whatever suits.


1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour – plus a little more as required
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp flour
1 tsp cornmeal or semolina

1/2 cup (~50g) pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
zest and juice of one lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh, or 1 tbsp dried, rosemary
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp sea salt flakes


Dough made by hand
1. Measure the yeast, warm water, sugar, salt and olive oil into a large bowl with half the flour and mix thoroughly.
2. Cover with cling wrap and leave for at least fifteen minutes in a warm place.
3. Mix in the remaining flour, adding extra as needed, to make a soft dough.
4. Knead the dough for approximately ten minutes. It will get less sticky as you work and should form a soft ball which springs back when pressed gently.
5. Coat the dough in 1tbsp of oil and return to the bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
6. Knead the dough for a minute in the bowl to reduce the size of any big air bubbles and shape as below.

Bread maker
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for ‘dough’, then shape and bake as below.

Shape the focaccia
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to a rectangle approximately 20cm x 30cm. Dust a pizza paddle with 1tsp of flour and 1tsp of cornmeal or semolina and put the dough on the paddle.

1. Push the olives well into the top of the dough.
2. Mix all the remaining topping ingredients together and brush over the surface of the dough.
3. Leave the bread to rest while you preheat the oven.

This is great when baked on a pizza stone as it helps achieve a good crust, but you can bake on a standard oven tray.
1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC fan bake. If using a pizza stone, preheat it for about half an hour to get it up to temperature. If using a baking tray, there is no need to preheat the tray.
2. Leave the bread to rise on the pizza paddle while the oven and stone finish heating up. Carefully slide the focaccia onto the hot pizza stone or baking tray and bake until the bread has risen and turned golden brown (15 – 20mins).