Focaccia Fun

Focaccia Fun

After traveling through Tuscany, there are two things I can't live without now; flaky focaccia and sangiovese. Since I'm still new to wine-making I decided to expand my bread playbook and learn proper focaccia. This flaky Italian bread is surprisingly easy to make and incredibly delicious fresh and even more of a textural delight after toasting. Make the most delicious sandwiches or simply dip strips in some tomato sauce - either way, you're in for a treat.

Yields: 1, 1250g loaf
430g all purpose flour
184g bread flour
110g sourdough starter
(or 1 tbs dry active yeast and an additional 55g AP flour and 55g water)
460g water
12g salt
15g oil

Mix the leaven, water and salt then add the flours. This recipe is easiest made with a KitchenAid mixer since the dough is so wet, but can be done by hand - just don't add any extra flour! Once a very wet dough mass forms, kneed for 5 minutes with the mixer or around 10 by hand. The dough will still be very sticky but should hold together, it won't likely form a ball though.

Let the dough rise for 2 hours somewhere warm, making sure to keep it from drying out by covering it. After 2 hours, transfer the focaccia to a heavily oiled pan (I recommend lining with parchment paper, then oiling that to ensure the bread doesn't stick). The dough will be very malleable and expand outwards as it rests. Every 30 minutes, gently stretch/push the dough towards the edges of the pan to fill it. Once the dough fills the pan, let it rise until 1-2" high (for this recipe I get nearly 2" in a 9x17" pan). Make sure to keep it covered with well oiled plastic wrap.

After this final rise (usually 2 hours) it is ready to bake! Dimple the surface with oiled fingers and add any toppings you choose; I love shallots and sea salt personally. Bake the bubbly loaf at 450F for about 20 minutes, it will brown quickly so keep an eye on it. Let it cool on a rack and cut it with a pizza slicer and enjoy! This is one of my favorite new recipes, please share it with your loved ones!