Caramelised Onion Sourdough Focaccia
Onions are naturally sweet, and when you slowly cook it over an extended period of time, the natural sugars in the onions caramelise. Caramelisation is making the result intensely and wonderfully flavourful. Happily, focaccia is one of the easiest breads to make - the dough requires no kneading. The caramelised red onions are so delicious baked into the top of the focaccia and it is very fresh sprinkled with pomegranate arils.
- sourdough starter - 100g (white wheat)
- water - 240g (lukewarm)
- strong white flour - 320g
- olive oil - 8 tablespoons
- sea salt - 7g
- fresh thyme - 1 tablespoon (chopped)
- pomegranate - ½ (arils - seeds)
- red onions - 2 large (thinly sliced)
- butter - 3 tablespoons
- red wine - 4 tablespoons
- sea salt - to taste
- Coat the bottom of the pan with butter. Heat the pan on medium high heat. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with butter. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. Cover pan. Stir onions every five minutes and check that they are not burning on the bottom of the pan. Cook for a further 30-40 minutes or so, until onions have reached the desired colour and texture. If the onions start to colour too much or catch on the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat. At the end of the cooking process - add a little red wine to help de-glaze the pan and salt to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place water, flour, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and starter in the bowl. Mix well with your hand until it forms a soft, slightly sticky dough.
- Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes. Add salt and mix well.
- Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let it rise in a warm place. Leave the mixture for about 2 hours.
- While resting, turning and folding every 30-40 minutes.
- . After two hours, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the dough into the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warn up at room temperature for about 2 hours.
- Pour the remaining olive oil onto a 20x30cm rimmed baking sheet and plop the dough on top, being careful not to deflate the dough.
- Using your hands, start to spread it out. Using your fingertips to make dimples all over the dough that will act as wells for the oil. The amount of oil will seem excessive, but the dough will absorb most of it as it bakes.
- Layer caramelised red onion and sprinkle with thyme.
- Cover with a cloth and let proof until very puffy, about 60 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- When the dough is fully proofed, place it into the preheated oven. Bake 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 160°C. Bake for another 10 minutes, until golden and crispy.
- Let cool for about 15 minutes, garnish with fresh pomegranate arils (seeds) and serve.