Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Olive Oil Focaccia

Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake is a baking event, which I'm co-hosting with Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.  This is a "spin-off" from our on-going monthly Cookbook Countdown. Cookbook Countdown Specials : Bake is for baking desserts ; pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, breads. While the monthly Cookbook Countdown is to use from one selected cookbook each month, for CC Specials : Bake, you may use any baking cookbooks of your choice, either from one single cookbook or from numerous books. The link is open from July to end September. You may link your post here. Do join us, everyone is welcome!

To link to Cookbook Countdown Specials : BAKE, click here
To link to Cookbook Countdown #9, click here


I've recently added to my cookbook collection, this fabulous book, The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook, which I have been eyeing ever since it was published. This book is fast becoming one of my favourite books on breads. There are many recipes which I could not wait to try, but first I must try one of my favourites flatbreads, foccaccia, which looks absolutely fabulous from the photo in the book. 

The recipe makes quite a large flatbread, so I have made only half a recipe, using a 13x9-inch pan. There are some variations given for the topping, but I've decided to make it plain as it is, as I wanted to use it for a sandwich later on.

The dough is pretty easy to work with. I did not use all of the water indicated, remaining a few tablespoons behind. This is due to the high temperature and humidity in our weather. The final dough however refused to fill the entire pan, so I have left it to rest for 10 minutes at 3 intervals before the whole pan was filled with the dough.  

This is a fabulous facaccia! The bread is soft, moist and good to eat on its own. I've made it twice already. The first time I've made it, my nephew came for a visit, ate a few pieces and took home the rest, except for one piece, as I wanted to see if it stays just as soft on the next day. It still remains soft on the next day! On the next day, I baked this bread again. We had it as a sandwich bread (will share that in next post), and between the four of us, we finished this whole tray of this Olive Oil Focaccia. No leftovers! I will be trying out the different topping variation the next time. This is a keeper recipe.

Olive Oil Focaccia
(adapted from "The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook", by Jessaymn Waldon Rodriguez)
(makes one 13x18inch focaccia)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2-3/4 cup (630gm) water
700gm bread flour
4 tbsp (55gm) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for shaping and drizzling
1 tbsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 tsp sugar

  1. Stir together the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the ingredients are well combined. Mix on medium speed until the dough looks like thick muffin batter, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer off and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate.
  2. Add 2 tablespoon of the olive oil and the salt and sugar and mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Turn the speed up just a notch and mix until the dough is quite thick and starting to pull away slightly from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes. It will be very sticky at this point. Increase the speed to high and let the dough mix until it comes together, makes slapping noises as it turns, the bowl is clean, and there's a slight sheen to the dough, about 6 minutes. Do a windowpane test to ensure that the gluten is fully developed.
  3. Coat the inside of a  large bowl with olive oil and transfer the dough to it. Fold the dough over itself a couple of times, cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or put the entire thing into a large plastic bag), and let it rise at room temperature until it is 1-1/2 times its original volume, about 2 hours.
  4. Generously oil a 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet. Remove the dough form the container with oiled hands and press the dough into the pan with your fingers so it evenly covers the pan. If the dough resists, simply let it rest for 10 minutes and then stretch it a bit more. Repeat this process as many times as needed until the dough willingly stretches to cover the entire surface of the pan. Loosely cover the focaccia with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400F/205C.
  6. Uncover the dough, use your fingers to firmly dimple the surface. Press down until you feel the hard surface below, being careful not to tear your dough. Use a pastry brush to paint the focaccia with 2 tablespoons olive oil and then sprinkle it evenly with 1 teaspoon salt. 
  7. Bake the focaccia until it's nicely browned and the underside is crisp, about 30 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight plastic bag at room temperature for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 300F/150C oven for a few minutes.

Cookbook Countdown


  1. Hi Joyce!
    Sounds like another wonderful event!!! Congratulations on the new cookbook too, from the looks of this Focaccia, it too is a winner! Don't you just love when a recipe works just the way you like. It's always been amazing to me on how you can adjust the recipe to just the way you want it. If I did that when baking, I would have a mess on my hands, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Joyce...Have fun with this latest event!!!

  2. Hi Joyce,
    Oh no leftovers .. that shows how good & yummy this facaccia you've baked. Enjoy !

  3. Gorgeous open crumb! This is a perfect Italian bread, Joyce.

  4. Hi Joyce! I love focaccia but haven't attempted one before, yours look so amazing and delicious! Can't wait to see the sandwich!

  5. Joyce, your Focacia looks great! Love all those holes in the bread. I haven't baked any buns for ages and my bread flour must have expired!