Modernist Bread’s Focaccia

From the Nathan Myhrvold bread encyclopedia comes a semi-sourdough focaccia

By SALT Magazine | 19 February, 2018 | Recipe
2018-02-19 11:12:27 2018-03-22 19:26:45


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
  1. Stir together olive oil, fine salt and 35g water and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Split dough into half or quarters if desired.
  6. Place dough in a pan, preferably cast-iron, that’s been generously drizzled with olive oil.
  7. Stipple the dough before letting it proof for 1h. Do this process twice.
  8. Drizzle with olive oil and add any desired toppings before baking for 35-45min at 450°F (230°C)
  9. Serve and enjoy.

This recipe was adapted from the book Modernist Bread – an extensive collection of recipes and techniques on all things bread-related. 

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