Focaccia is a fantastic apéritif nibble and also a lunchbox favourite. It is delicious warm or even cold.
I use my Kenwood Chef stand mixer to knead the dough with a dough hook. A pinch of Italian herbs comes in to take you on a trip to Liguria.
Of course, because I launched myself into the sour-dough voyage, I use my liquid starter as the unique yeast in the recipe. You can replace that by a good table spoon of fresh baker’s yeast or dry yeast.
In France, we call focaccia fougasse. It has to be the same origin. Wiki gives a clue: panis focacius is a bread cooked in the hearth. It is the ancestor of pizza.
Highly customizable, this recipe is basically a dough on which you can put anything you want. I have seen amazing fougasses with olives pressed down inside the dough which half pop up during baking. You can use any kind of meat, speck or ham or keep it vegetarian. It can be crowded or minimalist.
Here I have used fresh herbs from the garden: chilli oregano, rosemary, chives and thyme. But first I grated a small garlic clove over the spread dough and rubbed it all over.
What I like in foccacias is the cheese and the fact that any cheese will do. My favourite focaccia cheese is the Lebanese Shanklish, a sort of ball of herbed feta. Have a look HERE where I use it on fried eggs.
You can use blue cheese such as Gorgonzola, Bleu d’Auvergne, Roquefort or Stilton. Simple Cheddar, Emmenthal or Gruyère are fantastic too. Of course, creamy cheese such as goat cheese or even a dash of cream makes the recipe absolutely irresistible.
- 500g flour (any)
- 300g water
- 120g sour-dough starter or a tbs of fresh baker's yeast or even dry yeast
- 10g salt
- 30g olive oil
- 250g speck
- 1 mini clove garlic
- 80g cheese (Cheddar or Emmenthal, Gruyère, Shanklish, etc)
- Your selection of fresh herbs from the garden (chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary)
- Optional cream if you want to make it naughty...
- 1 dash good flavoursome olive oil
- Place all dough ingredients EXCEPT olive oil in the mixer's bowl.
- Mix on low speed for 4 mins, then 7 mins on high speed.
- Add olive oil, mix on low speed for 1 min and 3 mins on high speed.
- Dust silicon mat. Tip dough and form a ball. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise for 1h.
- Fold dough in half. Let rise for one more hour.
- Divide dough in 2 pieces which you will fold on themselves, stretching them a little lengthwise. Leave to proof for 20 mins. (You can make smaller foccacias or a giant one)
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Using your hands or a rolling pin form 2 ovals, 2 cm high. Place you focaccias on the tray.
- With a fork or your fingers press down the dough all over making holes (except on the edges).
- Grate garlic all over and spread it all over (optional: spread some crème fraîche).
- Place all the topping ingredients now.
- Leave to proof for 1h or more.
- Preheat the oven at 240°C.
- Bake for 5 mins and lower the temperature to 220°C. Bake for a further 10 mins.
- Place on a cooling rack. Some people brush olive oil on the sides. It give it a full one Italian look :)