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Middle Eastern Focaccia

15 June 2021

Fluffy, soft inside with a crunchy, oily and salty crust, packed with Middle Eastern flavours like cumin, koriander, thyme, nigella seeds, chili flakes and a hint of sumak. What’s not to love? This focaccia goes extremenly well with soups, stews and dips, or just plainly dipped in some good quality olive oil.

Recipe by @sabrinaghayour from her amazing cookbook Persiana.

Middle Eastern Focaccia

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Dinner, lunch, finger food, sides, bread Middle-Eastern, Italian
By Saffron & Sabrina Ghayour Serves: 8-12 portions
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 125 g cold sour cream
  • 150 ml cold water
  • 100 ml boiling hot water
  • 3 tsp course sea salt + extra to sprinkle (I love to use Maldon sea salt flakes)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 sachet dried instant yeast (7g)
  • 550 g durum flour
  • 3 tbsp cumin seeds (divided)
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried mint (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs thyme, leaves plucked
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp sumak



In a large bowl mix the sour cream with the cold and the hot water.


Add the salt, yeast and the sugar and let stand for 5 minutes.


Add the flour, 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, ground coriander, mint and chili flakes.


Knead through well until a ball has formed, ± 5 minutes.


Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out and let it rest for 15 minutes so it can rise.


Line a large baking tray with baking paper and place the ball in the middle.


Stretch the dough out carefully to all sides, working from the middle, so it reaches all the edges. Make sure you don't make any holes.


With your fingers press in little dimples all over the dough, you can be quite firm, but make sure you don't make any holes.


Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for an hour (or longer if you'd like).


Preheat the oven to 200°C.


Remove the plastic wrap from the baking tray and pour the olive oil over the top. It may look like a lot but I promise all will be good after baking.


With a pastry brush divide all the oil over the dough.


Sprinkle over some course salt flakes, thyme, nigella seed, the rest of the cumin seeds and the sumak.


Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until golden.

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