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Makes 1 loaf


  • 20 g fresh yeast
  • 700 g (5 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 20 g (1 tablespoon) sea salt
  • 15 g (1 tablespoon) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks rosemary, picked into small sprigs
  • olive oil


  • Crumble the fresh yeast into a bowl and pour over 500 ml (generous 2 cups) warm water. Leave for 30 minutes to give the yeast time to activate.
  • Meanwhile, put the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a bread hook. If kneading by hand, combine in a large mixing bowl.
  • With the mixer on a medium setting, add the yeast and water mixture to the dough and knead for around 5 minutes. The dough should be shiny and spring back when pressed with a finger.
  • Leave the dough in the mixing bowl and allow to rise for an hour.
  • While the dough is rising, take a deep baking tin, around 30 x 24 cm (12 x 9 1/2 inches) and oil it very generously.
  • Knock the air out of the dough and turn out onto a floured work counter.
  • Knead the dough for around 5 minutes to get it back to the shiny stage.
  • Swirl the oil in the pan to make sure all the inside surfaces are well-oiled.
  • Put the dough into the pan and press into the sides and corners. Turn it over so that it is completely coated with oil. Spread the onion slices over the surface and tuck in the rosemary sprigs, distributing them evenly.
  • Leave for 2 hours, loosely covered with a tea towel, until the dough has risen almost to the top of the tin.
  • Preheat the oven to 250ºC/500ºF. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden brown. You may turn it upside down in the pan and bake for another 10 minutes to ensure it is evenly browned all over, but this is cosmetic rather than essential.
  • Turn out the focaccia onto a wire rack and leave for at least an hour before slicing.

Source: 'The Sportsman' by Stephen Harris

About the book: The Sportsman in Whitstable, Kent has been transformed from a standard seaside pub into an internationally acclaimed restaurant with a cult status, through the hardwork of its chef Stephen Harris. The simple but stylish recipes in this book epitomise the pared back style of 'The Sportsman'  mixing culinary staples with modern techniques and tools. 


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