Allow to cool slightly before serving.


  • 1lb (450g/4 cups) flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 level teaspoon bread soda
  • 350-400mls (12-14 fl ozs/1½-1¾ cups) buttermilk, or sour milk
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 12 black or green olives, stones removed
  • A few sprigs of rosemary
  • A good drizzle of olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.
  • Brush the inside of a small Swiss roll tin or roasting tray generously with olive oil.
  • Sieve the dry ingredients, and make a well in the centre. Pour most of the milk in at once.
  • Using one hand, shaped like a claw, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more buttermilk if necessary. The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky.
  • When it all comes together, turn it out onto a floured board and roll it out so that it will fit into the Swiss roll tin. Make dimples with the tips of your fingers, to make little wells for the olive oil.
  • Place the 12 red onion chunks on the raw dough (3 across and 4 down, so that there are 12 altogether), so each square will have some of everything. Next to the red onion, place a pitted olive (press it down slightly) and a little sprig of rosemary. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until cooked. When cooked, the bread should be nice and golden on top and on the bottom.
  • If the bread gets a good golden colour and you don't want it to darken any more, while cooking, turn the oven down to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 and continue cooking.
  • When the focaccia is cooked but still hot, drizzle just a little more olive oil over the top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.