Caramelised onion, olive and thyme dough balls



  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Measure the warm water out. Put the yeast into a small bowl, adding the sugar and 3-tbsp of warm water. Mix until creamy and with a slight foamy head.
  2. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and the oil and stir well with a wooden spoon. If you need to, add flour or more water to create a slightly sticky dough. Flour dust your workstation and then knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  3. Lightly oil a large baking sheet. Put the dough on top of the baking sheet and cover with a damp clean tea towel, or a large piece of cling film that has been oiled. Place somewhere warm (optimum temperature for yeast to work is 35°C/85°F) for an hour or so until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Heat the 2-tbsp of oil in a frying pan with lid. Add the onions and replace the lid to sweat them until soft and transparent; about 5 – 8 minutes. Stir in the caster sugar, reduce heat and let the onions slowly brown with the lid off for a further 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  5. Once the dough has doubled in size remove it from the tray (keep the cling film or tea towel) and roll the dough out a little. Place on top the onions, olives, thyme leaves and black pepper. Fold the dough over and then work the whole with your hands until everything is combined. Then, using your hands again, shape into slightly oversized golf balls, placing each onto the greased baking sheet. Cover again with a wet tea towel, or the cling film, and put somewhere warm for half an hour.
  6. Finally, sprinkle parmesan on top of each ball before baking for 15 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 200°C / 180°C fan / 400°F / Gas mark 6. When ready, the dough balls will be lightly browned on top and should have a hallow sound if tapped on the bottom.