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(Experiment 42) Focaccia

This is my take on making Italian focaccia. I wanted to have a crispy crust with a chewy interior. I find most recipes online steer either way, too crispy or too much like a fat chewy white bread.

If you are looking for a super easy, no-knead, puffy ( not crispy) “focaccia” I highly recommend you follow Sameen recipe. It’s easy, tastes great, it’s like a huge puffy crumb. It’s very good but I would not call this a focaccia.

This recipe is influenced by several Italian recipes and in the Genovese tradition using brine. I played with the ratio of flours, amount of yeast and water until I had something I really liked. Classical Italian versions are about 1/4″ thick or so, I prefer it chewier at around 1/2″ thick. My blog, my preference 😉

You need:

  • 210g lukewarm water
  • 270g bread flour
  • 110g tipo 00 flour
  • 5g cane sugar
  • 15g olive oil + extra
  • 6g salt
  • 3g instant dry yeast

Brine solution

  • 80g room temperature water
  • 4g salt

Instructions

  1. First let’s bloom our yeast, in your stand mixer bowl, simply combine the yeast with the water, sugar and let it sit 5-10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, put the flours in a bowl with the salt and mix. Once the yeast is bloomed, add the olive oil to the stand mixer bowl and add the flours mix in. Using the hook attachment knead it for 5 minutes. You can do it by hand if you wish. If the dough is dry, add a little bit more water, the dough should be tacky but not dry nor wet.
  3. Once done, lightly flour your work surface, put the dough on and make a ball. Cover with a clean dishcloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Let’s preshape the dough into a small rectangle and fold 1/3 of the top part into itself, repeat again. Now for the last 1/3, it needs to fall under the dough. Lightly dust the work surface and cover the dough with the dishcloth and let rest for 40 minutes.
  5. Oil a baking sheet with some olive oil and set it aside for the next step. I usually don’t use non-stick baking sheets but surprisingly I much prefer the end result with it, plus you avoid any potential sticking. While you still have time to wait, prepare the brine solution by dissolving the salt in the water.
  6. It’s now time to shape our dough. Using your hand press the dough down gently. Remember that our baking sheet is rectangular so we want to keep this shape for the whole process. Now using a rolling pin, keep pressing the dough down until it has extended bout 30%. Transfer to baking sheet, your dough should still be smaller. Before we stretch it further we need to let it rest another 30 minutes. Cover with the dishcloth and let it take a nap.
  7. Lightly dust your dough with flour and press it down gently so it fills all the baking tray( if using a non-stick pan, it may have a tendency to stretch back a little, that’s fine). Try to make the dough even. Cover for an hour.
  8. It’s now time to give the dough its signature trademark by making indentations in it. Lightly dust with flour the dough and simply press down your fingers into the dough, press hard almost as if you want to go through the dough. Starting from one side of the dough until you reach the bottom, repeat for the second side. Put some olive oil on top of the dough and then pour the brine solution over. Use your hand to help distribute the oil/brine solution. Cover with the dishcloth for an hour for the final rise.
  9. Bake at 450F for 15-16 minutes. If you have a baking steel/stone, highly recommend you put it in. Bake at the lowest tray in your oven. If you want to add flaked salt, rosemary or whatever else, it’s time to put it on.
  10. Remove from tray and serve. Optional but highly recommend, brush some olive oil on top of the hot dough.

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