Make Fresh Focaccia at Home

Enjoy making an ancient hearth bread 

Focaccia is a luxurious, olive-oil-soaked Italian bread. Ancient Romans referred to hearth-baked flatbread as panis focacius, which means ‘hearth, place for baking’ in Latin. The basic recipe for focaccia is thought to have originated with the Etruscans.

focaccia bread
Focaccia by Antonis Achilleos

Over time, the tradition of focaccia spread and countless focaccia recipe variations were developed, influenced by each community’s local ingredients and methods. In short, focaccia is a flexible staple with staying power. 

On top of being an ancient delicacy of artisan bread, focaccia is also delicious and versatile. Focaccia is a crowd-pleaser that can be served on its own as a table bread, a part of an appetizer spread, as a simple snack or as sandwich bread. With so many applications, wouldn’t you like to have the recipe as a trick up your sleeve? Say no more. We are here to share our wealth of knowledge! 

The process of making focaccia is a delightfully tactile endeavor. If you’re looking for a recipe to tackle by yourself for a moment of baking zen, or with your family as a fun hands-on activity, making focaccia is an excellent baking project.

Though it has great flavor on its own, you can treat focaccia’s salty, dimpled surface as a blank canvas. The recipe below recommends topping with gorgonzola and caramelized onion, but that’s just the beginning. What about fresh herbs and garlic? Green olives? Slow roasted tomatoes? Salt, pepper and chile flakes? The possibilities are endless. Let us know what you come up with!

 

Focaccia with Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion

 

Yield: two 10-inch round, topped focaccia

 

Poolish:

All-Purpose Flour                     3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon            114 grams

Water (room temp)                  1/2 cup                                      114 grams

Instant Yeast                           1/8 teaspoon                              1/8 teaspoon

 

Dough:

Water (room temp)                  1 cup                                         227 grams

Poolish (from above)                from above                                 227 grams

Instant Yeast                           1/2 teaspoon                              1/2 teaspoon

All-Purpose Flour                      3 cups                                        427 grams

Olive Oil                                  1/4 cup                                       41 grams

Sea Salt                                  1 1/2 teaspoon                            9 grams

 

Garnish:

Onions                                     2 pounds                                   908 grams

Walnuts, toasted                      1/3 cup                                      272 grams

Gorgonzola, crumbled               4 tablespoons                             36 grams

 

Mixing the Poolish:
  1. Combine the flour, water, and yeast in a medium mixing bowl and stir together until incorporated.
  2. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 8 hours. Use immediately or refrigerate and use for best results within 24 hours.

 

Preparing the garnish:
  1.     Peel the onions and then cut them in half. Cut thin, half-ring slices of onion and then toss to separate the layers. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Add onions and cook slowly, stirring often. Cook until the onions are soft and golden brown in color. This will take 20 to 30 minutes. Depending on your pans and stovetop, you may want to put your heat on low to avoid over-browning or burning the onions.
  2.     Toast walnuts.
  3.     Crumble gorgonzola with a knife or by hand into grape size chunks.

 

Mixing the dough:
  1. In a large bowl, add the water, poolish, olive oil, and yeast and combine thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add half the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. The mixture will resemble a thick pancake batter.
  3. Add the remaining flour and salt and stir to combine.
  4. Continue mixing until the dough becomes shaggy and starts to just barely form a ball, turn the dough onto your work surface.
  5. Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Scrape the dough off the table, and place the dough into an oiled mixing bowl and cover with plastic.
  7. Ferment for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven and baking stone to 450° F.
  9. Uncover the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide into 2 equal pieces.
  10. Gently pre-shape each piece of dough into a small round.
  11. Place each focaccia on a cornmeal board and cover with plastic. Let proof for 50 to 55 minutes.
  12. Preheat the oven, baking stone, and cast iron pan to 450° F for 45 minutes prior to baking.
  13. After proofing gently press the rounds into discs approximately 10 inches in diameter. Use your fingertips for this process. Place the disks onto a lightly floured or cornmeal covered peel. With your fingertips, press the disk again to make dimples all over the surface. With a pastry brush, cover the focaccia with olive oil. Put half the onions, toasted walnuts, and gorgonzola all over the surface of the focaccia.
  14. Slide the Focaccia onto the baking stone in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown.
  15. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
  16. Repeat for the second Focaccia.
  17. Cool to room temperature before eating.

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