Foccacia
&
Spinach Foccacia




A delicious recipe for light and airy focaccia!  We love it plain, for sandwiches, or cubed and broiled for croutons.  It freezes well, so make the full recipe and have some on hand to use later.


 

 

 

To make the poolish, combine flour, water and yeast.  Mix well with a wire whisk.  Cover and ferment 6 hours.  

Poolish
2 c (16 oz) cool water
2 c (10 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 t instant yeast

Add the remaining ingredients.  Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed 5 minutes. The last minute the dough should clean the sides of the bowl. 

Final Dough
poolish (use all of it)
2 2/3 c (13 oz) all-purpose flour
2 T (.5 oz) gluten
2 t brown sugar
1 1/2 t instant yeast
2 1/4 t salt
1/3 c (3 oz) olive oil

This is a very soft, sticky dough.  It should clean the side of the bowl after 4 minutes of mixing and hold a very loose shape after it is done in the mixer.

Too much flour- it will clean the sides of the bowl before 4 minutes.  The paddle attachment won't mix it very well if there is too much flour, it will just stick inside the paddle and spin it around.  It will hold a stiff shape while rising.
Too little flour- it will not clean the sides of the bowl and won't be able to hold even a loose shape during rising.

Add mix-ins if using and beat an additional minute. Spray a medium bowl with cooking spray.  Form the dough into a ball and place inside the prepared bowl.  Lightly spray the top of the dough with cooking spray. Cover and rise 60-90 minutes or until double in size.

It is hard to estimate rising times.  It largely depends on the temperature of the dough and in the room.  In the summer or a very warm house it will rise much faster than in the winter or in a cold house. 

This is a soft dough and should be handled gently so the end result can be airy and light.  It is important to form them properly however, so when handling the dough do so gently but meaningfully. 

If air pockets rise to the surface while forming the dough, gently pop them. If you don't they can get very large and deflate the dough prior to or during baking.

Spray a half size sheet pan (13"x18") with cooking spray.  Brush 1 1/2 T of the olive oil on the bottom and sides of the pan.  Remove the dough from the bowl and stretch it as much as you can before placing it on the pan.  Place it on the pan and gently stretch it.  Cover and let rest 20-30 minutes.  Stretch again to the edges of the pan.  If it resists stretching, cover it again and wait another 10-20 minutes.

1 1/2 T olive oil
Stretching the dough before setting it on the pan allows gravity to do some of the work.  Hold onto one side and  turn the dough in the air quickly to stretch it evenly without tearing it.


Resting the dough relaxes the gluten and allows it to stretch further.  If it is resisting, let it rest a bit longer.  It should stretch evenly without tearing.

 Brush the remaining 1 1/2 T olive oil on the dough.  Dimple the dough with your fingers by pushing it to the bottom, but not breaking through it.  Cover and rise 60-90 minutes until double in size. Position an oven rack to the middle of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500, 20-30 minutes before baking.  Place focaccia in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to 400 and bake another 10 minutes. 
Remove from the oven and top if desired. 

1 1/2 T olive oil

Topping (optional)

2 c shredded mozerella
1/2 c shredded parmesan

Dimpling the dough helps create even air pockets. 


Most ovens need at least 20 minutes to heat to 500 degrees.  It may beep saying it's ready before then, but it usually needs longer.  This bread does best with a really hot oven the first five minutes of baking.

Don't forget to set a timer for the first five minutes.  If you forget to turn the oven temperature down, it won't bake correctly.

Bake another 8 minutes until toppings are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and place pan on a cooling rack.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Run a spatula around the sides and on the bottom to loosen.  Remove the focaccia to the cooling rack.  Cool completely before slicing.  Slice the edges off and reserve for croutons if desired. Slice into individual pieces and serve! 

Don't leave the bread on the pan to cool.  The bottom needs to release the heat and dry out.  It will get soggy on the bottom if it cools on the tray.

Bread continues to cook as it cools.  Slicing it before it's cool makes it gummy.

I like to cut the edges off so each piece of focaccia is the same.  I cut the edges into bite size pieces and freeze to use as croutons for salads.

   
Great plain or cut in half to use for sandwiches.    

 Follow the directions for the focaccia.
The last minute of kneading add the spinach mix-in.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and the spinach. 
Cook until wilted 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not burnt.  Remove from skillet onto a paper towel to soak up an additional moisture.  Cool 3-5 minutes.  Add to the dough along with the parmesan and flour.  Knead one minute.

Follow the rest of the focaccia instructions.

2 c fresh chopped spinach
1 t olive oil
3-4 medium cloves garlic crushed
1/4 c shredded parmesan
2 T all purpose flour

Wilting the spinach remove the excess liquid.  If the spinach is added fresh, it will release too much moisture into the dough.

Tips and Tricks

Preparation Schedule
To make same day
6:00 a.m.- make poolish
12:00 p.m.- make final dough
2:00-3:00 p.m.- shape dough
5:00-6:00 p.m.- bake

To make in two days
day before
12:00 p.m.- make poolish and rise 6 hours, refrigerate overnight
day of
9:00 a.m.- remove poolish from refrigerator
10:00 a.m.- make final dough
12:00-1:00 p.m.- shape dough
2:00-3:00 p.m.- bake

Make Ahead

Poolish- the poolish can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.  Remove from the refrigerator 60 minutes before using.

Final Shaped Dough- the dough can be kneaded, risen, shaped, covered, and refrigerated up to 24 hours ahead of time.  Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours minutes prior to baking.

Shaping
Stretching the Dough- Allow the dough to relax if it resists stretching.  This is called an autolyse.  It can be stretched much further and more evenly after this period.

Freezing
Cool completely and freeze in individual pieces.  Great to pull out a few for sandwiches or to accompany soup.

Croutons
This bread makes great croutons.  Slice off the edges and cut into bite sized pieces.  Freeze until needed.  Toss with butter and salt and broil until browned.


Problems

Flour
This is a very soft, sticky dough.  It should clean the side of the bowl after 4 minutes of mixing and hold a very loose shape after it is done in the mixer.
Too much flour- it will clean the sides of the bowl before 4 minutes.  The paddle attachment won't mix it very well if there is too much flour, it will just stick inside the paddle and spin it around.  It will hold too stiff a shape while rising
Too little flour- it will not clean the sides of the bowl and won't be able to hold even a loose shape during rising.


Drying Out
This bread is soft and delicious when eaten the same day.  It dries out quickly however, so slice and store as soon as it is cool.  See storage directions for further information.



Foccacia
24 slices or 12 large sandwiches
Poolish
2 c (16 oz) cool water
2 c (10 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 t instant yeast

Final Dough
poolish (use all of it)
2 2/3 c (13 oz) all-purpose flour
2 T (.5 oz) gluten
2 t brown sugar
1 1/2 t instant yeast
2 1/4 t salt
1/3 c (3 oz) olive oil

Mix-Ins
Herbs
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t garlic powder (I don't like how fresh garlic tastes in this one)
1 t dried rosemary or 1 T fresh rosemary

Spinach
(see below)

Shaping the Dough
3 T olive oil

Toppings
2 c shredded mozerella
1/2 c shredded parmesan


Poolish

In the bowl of an electric mixer add flour, water and yeast.  Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed 2 minutes.  Cover and ferment 4-6 hours.

Final Dough
1.  Add the remaining ingredients to the poolish.  Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed 5 minutes.  The last minute the dough should (1)clean the sides of the bowl.  Add mix-ins if using and beat an additional minute.  (See spinach directions below)  Spray a medium bowl with cooking spray.  Form the dough into a ball and place inside the prepared bowl.  Lightly spray the top of the dough with cooking spray.  Cover and rise (2)60-90 minutes or until double in size.

2.  Spray a half size sheet (13"x18") with cooking spray.  Brush 1 1/2 T of the olive oil on the bottom and sides of the pan.  Remove the dough from the bowl and (3)stretch it as much as you can before placing it on the pan.  Place it on the pan and gently stretch it.  Cover and let (4)rest 20-30 minutes.  Stretch again to the edges of the pan.  If it resists stretching, cover it again and wait another 10-20 minutes.  Brush the remaining 1 1/2 T olive oil on the dough.  (5)Dimple the dough with your fingers by pushing it to the bottom, but not breaking through it.  Cover and rise 60-90 minutes until double in size.

3.  Position an oven rack to the middle of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500, 20-30 minutes (6)before baking.  Place pan in the oven and bake for 5 minutes(7).  Lower the heat to 400 and bake another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top if desired.  Bake another 8 minutes until toppings are lightly browned.

4.  Remove from oven and place pan on a cooling rack.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Run a spatula around the sides and on the bottom to loosen.  Remove the focaccia to the (8)cooling rack.  Cool (9)completely before slicing.  Slice the (10)edges off and reserve for croutons if desired. Slice into individual pieces and serve!  Great plain or cut in half to use for sandwiches.


Spinach Focaccia
2 c fresh chopped spinach
1 t olive oil
3-4 medium cloves garlic crushed
1/4 c shredded parmesan
2 T all purpose flour

1.  Follow the directions for the focaccia.  The last minute of kneading add the following as the mix-in.

2.  Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and the spinach.  Cook until (11)wilted 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not burnt.  Remove from skillet onto a paper towel to soak up an additional moisture.  Cool 3-5 minutes.  Add to the dough along with the parmesan and flour.  Knead one minute.

3.  Follow the rest of the focaccia instructions.


Storing
Focaccia is best eaten the day it's made.  As soon as it's cool, slice and store it.  It dried out quickly. 

Same day
Cool completely then place in a plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

Freezing 
Place in a plastic bag or wrap well in plastic wrap.  Slice and freeze individual pieces to use as needed.  Freeze up to 4 months. 


Notes

1.  This is a very soft, sticky dough.  It should clean the side of the bowl after 4 minutes of mixing and hold a very loose shape after it is done in the mixer.
Too much flour- it will clean the sides of the bowl before 4 minutes.  The paddle attachment won't mix it very well if there is too much flour, it will just stick inside the paddle and spin it around.  It will hold too stiff a shape while rising
Too little flour- it will not clean the sides of the bowl and won't be able to hold even a loose shape during rising.

2.  It is hard to estimate rising times.  It largely depends on the temperature of the dough and in the room.  In the summer or a very warm house it will rise much faster than in the winter or in a cold house. 

3.  Stretching the dough before setting it on the pan allows gravity to do some of the work.  Hold onto one side and  turn the dough in the air quickly to stretch it evenly without tearing it.

4.  Resting the dough relaxes the gluten and allows it to stretch farther.  If it is resisting let it rest a bit longer.  It should stretch evenly without tearing.

5.  Dimpling the dough helps create even air pockets. 

6.  Most ovens need at least 20 minutes to heat to 500 degrees.  It may beep saying it's ready before then, but it usually needs longer.  This bread does best with a really hot oven the first five minutes of baking.

7.  Don't forget to set a timer for the first five minutes.  If you forget to turn the oven temperature down, it won't bake correctly.

8.  Don't leave the bread on the pan to cool.  The bottom needs to release the heat and dry out.  It will get soggy on the bottom if it cools on the tray.

9.  Bread continues to cook as it cools.  Slicing it before it's cool makes it gummy.

10.  I like to cut the edges off so each piece of focaccia is the same.  I cut the edges into bite size pieces and freeze to use as croutons for salads.

11.  Wilting the spinach remove the excess liquid.  If the spinach is added fresh, it will release too much moisture into the dough. 


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