Focaccia and Toppings

Be the first to rate this recipe »
Recipe photo

Focaccia and Toppings

Be the first to rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Focaccia (pronounced foe-ka-chee-ah; plural: focacce) is an individual Italian pizza. The crust is always a wonderful, chewy bread, and the topping should be heavenly without being as cumbersome as that on a traditional pizza.

Focaccia in Italy is often a simple flatbread topped with extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh herbs. School children in Rome eat these as a snack, warm and fresh from their local bakery. Focacce can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

The doughs for focaccia tolerate refrigerating and freezing. One way to take advantage of this trait is to make a double or triple batch of dough and divide it into individual portions, which you can then freeze in small plastic bags. Thaw dough as you need it.

Our interpretations make use of fresh herbs and vegetables. Do your own experimenting, and send us your creations!

Focaccia Dough

This is a simple dough with a nice texture from the whole-grain flours. It is wonderful brushed with a little extra-virgin olive oil, a dusting of kosher salt, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs after baking (fresh herbs put on before baking will burn).

2 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups water, room temperature
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup pumpernickel flour
3 cups (approx.) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Add together the yeast, water, sugar, salt, milk, 1/2 cup of the unbleached four, and all the whole wheat flour and pumpernickel flours. Stir until well-mixed. Add the remaining unbleached flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough forms a shaggy mass.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary, until it forms a smooth, satiny ball.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil; this prevents the formation of a skin due to exposure to air. Cover bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and put in a warm place to rise. Or, place dough in large or small plastic bags and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze (use frozen dough within 1 month). The dough doesn't need to rise before refrigerating or freezing.*

*Note: Frozen dough should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator, or for a few hours on your counter; time will vary depending on the heat of your kitchen. When you thaw frozen dough and let it rise, it won't get as puffy as usual; it will be dense and damp, even a little slimy, but will work perfectly well. If you have refrigerated your dough, simply remove from the refrigerator and let rise on the counter; it will take a bit longer than dough which hasn't been refrigerated.

When dough is swollen and puffy, punch down and knead on a lightly floured work surface to expel air bubbles (if dough has been refrigerated or frozen, you'll need to use more flour). Divide dough into four pieces, and roll each into a ball. Let dough relax for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Flatten each ball with a rolling pin and let them sit for 30 minutes, or until you can really flatten and dimple dough with your fingertips. Dough should be about 1/4-inch thick, or less.

Place dough on oiled cookie sheets or directly on a baking stone sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Top with sauce and cheese, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Yield: four focacce.

Nutrition information per serving (1/2 of one focaccia, 119 g): 225 cal, 1 g fat, 8 g protein, 46 g complex carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 4 g dietary fiber, 273 mg sodium, 177 mg potassium, 3 mg iron, 90 mg calcium, 133 mg phosphorus.

Mediterranean Focaccia Dough

This dough can also be refrigerated or frozen, according to instructions in preceding recipe.

    2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
    1 1/2 cups water, room temperature
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
    1 cup semolina flour (or substitute whole wheat or unbleached, all-purpose)
    3 cups (approx.) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Mix together yeast, water, salt, olive oil, basil, 1/2 cup unbleached flour and semolina flour. Add in remaining unbleached flour until dough is a shaggy mass.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it, adding more flour as necessary until you have a smooth, satiny ball. Place dough in a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the heat of your kitchen.

When dough is swollen and puffy, punch down and knead on a lightly floured work surface to expel air bubbles. Divide dough into four pieces and roll each one into a ball. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Flatten each ball with a rolling pin and let sit for 30 minutes, or until you can really flatten and dimple dough with your fingertips. Place dough on oiled cookie sheets, or directly on a baking stone sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake for 10 minutes.

Top focacce with sauce and cheese, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Yield: four focacce.

Nutrition information per serving (1/2 of 1 focaccia, 116 g): 265 cal, 7 g fat, 7 g protein, 44 g complex carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 268 mg sodium, 115 mg potassium, 1 mg vitamin C, 3 mg iron, 120 mg calcium, 66 mg phosphorus.

Focaccia Toppings

Each of these recipes will yield enough topping for four focacce.

Pesto, Herbed Chicken & Chevre
    1 cup pesto
    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 whole breasts)
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1/4 cup minced sage and parsley combined
    1 11-ounce log montrachet cheese (or substitute 12 ounce shredded mozzarella cheese)
    1 cup pinenuts, toasted until light brown (optional)

Roll the chicken breasts in the herbs and sauté in olive oil until barely cooked. Cool and slice into diagonal slices.

Spread pesto on the focacce. Top with chicken slices. Break up the montrachet with your fingers, and sprinkle on the focacce. Return focacce to the oven and finish baking. When cheese has melted, remove from oven and sprinkle with pinenuts.

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of topping recipe, 147 g): 432 cal, 32 g fat, 28 g protein, 6 g complex carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 75 mg cholesterol, 625 mg sodium, 289 mg potassium, 2 mg vitamin C, 3 mg iron, 284 mg calcium, 382 mg phosphorus.

Roasted Pepper, Feta and Shallots
    2 cups roasted red pepper purée*
    2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
    2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
    1 cup roasted shallot purée
    1 cup fresh basil leaves

Spread the roasted pepper purée on the focacce. Dot with roasted shallots, and sprinkle with cheeses. Return focacce to oven to finish baking. Arrange fresh basil on top of baked focacce.

*Make roasted red pepper purée yourself by purchasing canned, whole roasted red peppers (or pimientoes), and puréeing in blender or processor.

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of topping recipe, 174 g): 276 cal, 15 g fat, 18 g protein, 15 g complex carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 66 mg cholesterol, 846 mg sodium, 377 mg potassium, 24 mg vitamin C, 3 mg iron, 459 mg calcium, 367 mg phosphorus.

Roasted Shallot Purée
    1 lb. shallots, unpeeled
    olive oil

Put shallots in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes, or until very soft. Cut off ends and squeeze shallots into a bowl. Cover with a light layer of olive oil.

Greek Spinach
    2 packages fresh spinach, stemmed and washed
    2 cups ricotta cheese, part skim
    2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
    1 cup roasted garlic purée

Steam spinach and drain it well. Mix ricotta and feta cheese together.

Spread spinach on focacce. Top with cheese mixture and dot with roasted garlic. Return focacce to oven to finish baking.

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of topping recipe, 241 g): 304 cal, 16 g fat, 18 g protein, 20 g complex carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 69 mg cholesterol, 789 mg sodium, 737 mg potassium, 37 mg vitamin C, 4 mg iron, 596 mg calcium, 434 mg phosphorus. Using whole-milk ricotta increases calories to 326, fat to 19 g.

Roasted Garlic Purée
    4 heads garlic
    olive oil
Remove some of the paper on the heads of garlic; leave cloves intact. Coat garlic with olive oil and wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil. Bake in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes. Cut off top of each garlic head and squeeze garlic into a small bowl. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil.

Mackinac Focaccia Topping

This is based on a campfire casserole made by my godmother, Cynnie Burmeister, on a memorable camping and owling trip to Mackinac, Mich. a few years ago.
    2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
    1 large onion, cut into rings and sautéed in olive oil until translucent, then drained well
    4 small zucchini or 1 or 2 large August-sized zucchini, thinly sliced
    4 plum tomatoes (or any garden tomato), thinly sliced
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sprinkle Cheddar cheese on top of focacce. Top with onion rings. Overlap slices of zucchini in a circle around edge of focacce. Put circle of overlapping tomato slices in center. Sprinkle each focaccia with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of topping, 210 g): 158 cal, 9 g fat, 10 g protein, 7 g complex carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 32 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, 430 mg potassium, 22 mg vitamin C, 1 mg iron, 263 mg calcium, 217 mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 6, July-August 1992 issue.