- 1/2 package fast action yeast
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 4 cups strong bread flour, and more for dusting
- 1 bulb garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 6 small eggs
- 12 to 20 cherry tomatoes
- Make the sponge: Whisk together the yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl. Add half the flour and stir well, then cover and leave to rise for 2 hours, until risen by at least one-third.
- Make the dough: Place the remaining flour in a clean mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sponge, salt, sugar and 2 teaspoons of oil. Bring the dough together and knead for 10 minutes by hand on a floured worktop, or in the stand mixer on low speed for 5 minutes then high speed for 2 minutes. Once you have a smooth, silky dough, shape it into a ball and place into an oiled mixing bowl. Cover and leave to rise for 2 hours.
- Shape the focaccia: Lightly flour a baking sheet. Generously dust your worktop with flour and tip the dough onto it. Tap it out into a large rectangle then fold one-third over the middle section, and the remaining third on top of that, like a folded letter. Tap and press it out into a rectangle again, roughly the same size as your baking tray then transfer it to the tray and press it out so that it fills the tray evenly. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 1 hour.
- Roast the garlic: While the focaccia is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop the top off the garlic bulb, so that the very top of each clove is exposed. Wrap the garlic in foil and roast for 30 minutes, then put aside to cool.
- Cook the focaccia: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Dimple the surface of the dough with your fingers. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the skin, and arrange them on top of the bread. Do the same with the tomatoes, to create a pattern. Drizzle the remaining olive oil generously over the bread, and scatter lots of small sprigs of rosemary on top. Finish with a generous sprinkle of sea salt flakes then put it into the hot oven for 10 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for another 6 to 10 minutes.
- Take the bread out of the oven and cut 6 holes in it using a cookie cutter. Don’t cut all the way through; leave the bottom crust intact. Use a spoon to scoop out the bread from the holes, then add a raw egg to each nest. Return to the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the egg whites are cooked through and the yolk is still runny. Serve immediately, with extra olive oil drizzled on top.