One of the most familiar of all flatbreads, focaccia has a rich heritage. In ancient Rome, breads known as panis focacius were baked on a hearth (focus is Latin for “hearth”), and today’s focaccia is said to have developed from this bread. Some versions are simple, with just olive oil, salt, and maybe herbs; others are topped with ingredients such as meat and cheese. Considered a precursor to pizza, focaccia resembles contemporary Roman-style pizza.
- 460g water
- 1¼ tsp olive oil
- 11g fine salt
- 100g liquid levain, mature
- 1.65g instant dry yeast
- 500g high-gluten bread flour
- 1g diastatic malt powder
- Stir together olive oil, fine salt and 35g water and set aside.
- Dissolve liquid levain and instant dry yeast in the remaining 425g water, then add the high-gluten bread flour and diastatic malt powder. Autolyse (mix until a shaggy mass and let sit) for 20-30min.
- Combine both mixtures and mix until homogeneous dough is formed, check for gluten formation with the windowpane test. Transfer to a lightly oiled tub or bowl, and cover well with a lid or a plastic wrap.
- Perform a four-edge fold on the dough once every 30 min for 6 folds. To perform a four-edge fold, pull each edge of the square of dough to the opposite edge; bulk ferment at room temperature; keep dough covered between folds. Leave dough to rest for a further 30min after the last fold.
- Split dough into half or quarters if desired.
- Place dough in a pan, preferably cast-iron, that’s been generously drizzled with olive oil.
- Stipple the dough before letting it proof for 1h. Do this process twice.
- Drizzle with olive oil and add any desired toppings before baking for 35-45min at 450°F (230°C)
- Serve and enjoy.
This recipe was adapted from the book Modernist Bread – an extensive collection of recipes and techniques on all things bread-related.