Bubbly Garden Focaccia
I’m such a bread addict, so much that I had to learn to bake good bread, sourdough bread that is but I also love commercial yeasted bread depending on the type of bread. Focaccia is one type of bread that I absolutely
love. The aroma as it’s baking is heavenly especially when topped with lots of yummy ingredients like rosemary and garlic.
If you are impatient and want a quick focaccia this is definitely not going to be the recipe for you because it requires a long fermentation. But, I can tell you, if you want a nice bubbly focaccia, the wait will be worth it!
To me, focaccia is simple, rustic, romantic, and has the most perfect combination of being crispy, fluffy, chewy but moist. Over the years, I’ve tried various recipes, had many fails (although still tastes good), and have experimented in an attempt to attain the bubbly characteristics I so love in a good focaccia. During the process of experimenting I’ve learned that in order to achieve what I think is a perfect bubbly focaccia requires three key steps. I’m going to share those with you, are you ready? Lots of olive oil, a long, cold fermentation in the refrigerator, like a minimum of 12 hours and up to 20 hours, and the third key step is a second rise at room temperature for up to 4 hours, depending on the temperature in your house. These key steps have helped me attain the bubbly and crispy yet moist focaccia that I yearned to have.
Interestingly, the ingredients remain the same for a basic focaccia and those ingredients are water, flour, yeast, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Very similar to a pizza dough.
Often times I keep it simple and only top it with salamoia (brine using water, salt and olive oil), flaky sea salt, rosemary and nothing else. Other times I top it with lots of ingredients like in this garden focaccia recipe. During the step of adding your toppings, let your creative spirit animal out, use your imagination and decorate it or top it with some of your favorite ingredients.
If you’d like to see more of what I cook, please visit me at https://www.instagram.com/mycreativekneads/
Okay, enough said, let’s get baking!
Sometimes I keep it very simple and make a Salamoia brine which I drizzle over the dough before I dimple it. After I sprinkle fresh rosemary and fleur de sel. You can keep it simple and use it for paninis or you can pile on the toppings, either way it tastes great!
Bubbly Garden Focaccia
For the dough
- 4 cups high gluten flour
- 2.5 tsp instant yeast
- 2.5 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 2 cups lukewarm water (approx. 85° Fahrenheit)
- 4.5 Tbsp olive oil
Toppings: Veggies to decorate the dough
- Variety of veggies to decorate the foccacia, I used parsley, cherry tomatoes, red onions, lemon wedges, chives, caper berries, & garlic
- Fleur de sel to sprinkle over the focaccia
- Zatar (Opt.)
For the dough
- For the dough: In a large bowl, add the yeast, the water and let sit for about 5 min or until foamy.
- Once the yeast is foamy, add the flour, salt, and using a mixer, mix with a dough hook until the ingredients form a sticky ball of dough.
- Once the dough has formed a ball, rub the surface of the dough with approximately 1 tbsp olive oil & cover the bowl with plastic wrap (I use plastic shower caps, they fit perfectly around the bowl that I use.
- Once the dough is covered, place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 20 hours. Don’t miss this step because the cold ferment will help form the fluffy bubbles you want to see in a focaccia. I’ve refrigerated it for up to 20 hours.
- The following day: line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper and grease with olive oil, I use approximately 2 tbsp, you want to prevent sticking so don’t skimp on the oil, be generous.
- Deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl. I use 2 oiled spoons or wooden spatulas and I pull the dough toward the center and on to itself. Continue rotating the bowl as you deflate, turning the dough onto itself and until you form a ball. Place the dough in the prepared pan and roll the entire ball of dough in the oil to coat completely.
- Let the dough rest for up to 4 hours before baking.
- After the dough has rested, you will notice that the dough is fluffy and has spread, almost covering the entire surface of the pan. Pour another tablespoon of oil over the dough, rub your hands together and coat them with the oil. Using all of your fingers, press down creating deep dimples. You may need to stretch the dough gently as you’re creating the dimples to allow the dough to completely form into the pan.
- Preheat oven to 450°F ensure that the rack is in the middle of the oven.
Toppings for making the garden
- At the bottom of the shorter side of the pan (9 inch side), sprinkle zatar to make it look like dirt.
- Decorate with your choice of veggies. I attempted to make a bouquet and used chives and parsley (keeping the stems), starting at the bottom of the pan and over the dirt, lay the stems pulling them up towards the pan.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes and place them over the parsley and chives to make them look like flowers.
- Slice the red onions and place them over the tomatoes leaving a segment of the onion open so the tomato pops through.
- Place a slice of lemon on the top corner of the pan to make it look like the sun.
- Use garlic cloves, sliced large caper berries and lay them on the bottom and anywhere else you’d like to use them. I used them throughout the dough.
- Sprinkle with fleur de sel
- Transfer the pan to the middle rack and bake at 450° F for approximately 20 to 35 minutes or until the underside of the focaccia is crispy and golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer the focaccia to a cooling rack. If you can, allow it to cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Depending on how you slice the focaccia, you can have up to 6 servings. Enjoy!
- If you have long nails use your knuckles, or you will break through the dough.
- If you want just a basic focaccia without many toppings, I recommend making a salamoia (brine). I use 4 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons of good olive oil, and about 1 tsp of sea salt. Stir vigorously, drizzle over the focaccia, dimple the dough and sprinkle with more salt if you wish.
- Zatar is a middle eastern blend of savory dried herbs like oregano, marjoram, thyme, and earthy spices like cumin, coriander, toasted sesame seeds, salt and sumac. We use it a lot and you can find it in middle eastern markets. I’m planning on trying to make my own.