Makes 2 medium loaves or 1 large
1 tsp dried yeast
225ml lukewarm water (approximately)
350g strong white flour
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
Rosemary (or sage), finely chopped, to taste
Coarse sea salt
1. Mix the yeast and 2 tsp of sugar in the lukewarm water and allow it to activate – when the yeast froths, it’s ready to use.
2. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and the yeast mixture.
3. Mix to a loose dough, adding more flour or water as required, until just combined. Knead for about 5 minutes. Leave the dough to rise in a well-oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap until the dough has trebled in size and is springy to the touch, which will take about 2 hours. It will rise best in a warm location, such as a hot press or near a cooker or oven.
4. Meanwhile, to caramelise the red onions, heat a saucepan with olive oil, add the onions and 2 tbsp sugar and allow to sauté slowly for 8–9 minutes, until the onions have softened. Set aside.
5. When the bread has risen, knock it back and tip it out onto an oiled surface. Knead it again by hand for 2–3 minutes.
6. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll out into rectangles 1cm thick (or just make 1 large rectangle). Put the rectangles onto an oiled baking sheet and make indentations with your fingertips. Brush the surface generously with olive oil. Sprinkle the onions, finely chopped rosemary (or sage) and coarse sea salt on top. Allow to rise again for 1–1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
7. Preheat the oven to 230°C/fan 210°C/gas 8. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.