Golden Focaccia Bakealong: Challenge #13

bakealong-logoWelcome to our August bakealong challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake this month’s recipe, Golden Focaccia, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Enjoy!

We recently wrapped up the first year of our Bakealong challenge, and decided to take stock by asking for feedback from you, our readers.

An email and Facebook survey revealed most of you feel the recipes featured over the past 12 months were appropriately challenging and interesting, and the tips and photos were key to baking success.

One bit of information we hadn’t expected: you want to try more international recipes. So we decided to kick off our second year of Bakealong with a classic Italian country recipe: focaccia.

Maybe you’ve tasted the American version of this flatbread, typically thick and tender with a soft crust. Easily split in half for sandwiches, our recipe for Blitz Bread: No-Fuss Focaccia is a good representative of the genre.

Now we’d like you to learn about true focaccia, the kind made in Italian towns from Genoa to Catania. Our Golden Focaccia Bakealong will show you how to create the real thing: Italian focaccia, usually a bit thinner than American-style, crusty and chewy and topped with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a scattering of herbs.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Fancy versions of focaccia will have chopped olives or onions, plus maybe a few curls of shaved Parmesan. But one trait common to all native Italian focaccia is this: there’s no iconic recipe, and it’s never made exactly the same way twice. Focaccia is a casual bread, enjoyed warm from the oven with family and friends — a dish made for sharing.

The Golden Focaccia #bakealong challenge: rustic bread straight from the Italian countryside. Click To Tweet

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Make the overnight starter

1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon (a big pinch) instant yeast or active dry yeast
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Mix the water and 1/16 teaspoon yeast, then add the flour, stirring until the flour is incorporated. The starter will be paste-like; it won’t form a ball.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; the starter will be bubbly. If you make this in the late afternoon, it’ll be ready to go by the next morning.

The overnight starter does two things for your focaccia. First, it gives the yeast a chance to grow and really do its work, resulting in light-as-air flatbread with an appealing bit of chew. And second, as the yeast grows it releases organic acids and alcohol, both of which contribute immeasurably to the focaccia’s flavor.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Make the dough

all of the starter (above)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the overnight starter with the remaining dough ingredients, and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth, elastic dough. If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 5 minutes at second speed.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Let the dough rise

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 hour.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

The dough will become noticeably puffy.

Select your pan(s)

A large baking sheet (e.g., an 18″ x 13″ half-sheet pan) will comfortably hold the entire batch of dough.

Want to make smaller focaccia? Try one of these options instead.
• Pat the dough into four 6″ to 8″ rounds, either freeform or in round cake pans.
• Make a couple of rectangular focaccia in two 9″ x 13″ pans.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Grease and oil your pan 

Use non-stick vegetable oil spray to lightly grease the pan(s) of our choice. Drizzle olive oil atop the spray — about 2 tablespoons is a good amount for a half-sheet pan; use less for each smaller pan, obviously. The spray keeps the bread from sticking, while the olive oil gives the bottom crust great crunch and flavor.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Press the dough into the pan

Gently pull and shape the dough into a rough rectangle, and pat it into the pan. For thinner focaccia (1/2″ to 3/4″ thick), pat it all the way to the edges of the pan. For thicker focaccia (3/4″ to 1″ thick; pictured above), don’t pat all the way to the edges of the pan; leave an inch or so free around the perimeter.

Let the focaccia rise

Cover the pan(s), and allow the focaccia to rise for 30 minutes.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Dimple the dough

After the initial 30-minute rise use your fingers to make irregularly spaced dimples, pressing down firmly; your fingers should reach the bottom of the pan without actually breaking through the dough.

Let it rise some more

Re-cover the dough, and let it rise until it’s noticeably puffy, about 1 hour. The dough should have expanded, but shouldn’t seem fragile, or look like it might collapse. 

Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F. If you have a pizza stone or baking stone, set it on a middle or lower-middle rack.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Add the toppings

Spritz the focaccia heavily with warm water; Italian bakers say this helps keep the interior soft. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil (or enough to collect a bit in the dimples).

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Sprinkle with rosemary (or the herb of your choice), black pepper, and coarse salt, to taste.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Choose flaked sea salt or kosher salt; the salt, pepper, and rosemary make a bold statement, and you don’t want fine-grain salt getting lost in the mixture.Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

While often topped simply with herbs and sea salt, Italian focaccia also serves as a base for ingredients ranging from chopped olives, feta, and anchovies to sweet onions and capers. I’ve topped this round very simply with two types of olives and fresh thyme.

Use a light touch with any toppings; focaccia isn’t pizza. But it’s OK to be creative with these finishing touches.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Bake the focaccia

Place the pan of focaccia onto the baking stone, or onto a middle oven rack. Bake the focaccia until it’s light golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Serve with gusto!

Gather your friends. Open a bottle of wine. Enjoy focaccia hot from the oven, with pasta, or antipasto, or simply a saucer of garlic oil. But most of all, with laughter and love.

Focaccia is best the same day it’s made. But leftovers can be successfully refreshed: slice and toast in a toaster, or place into a 350°F oven, heating just until warmed through.

Baking gluten-free?

We’ve got you covered! See our recipe for Gluten-Free Focaccia.

High-altitude adjustments

Do you bake at altitude? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.

Golden Focaccia Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Take the Golden Focaccia Bakealong challenge!

Are you ready to take the challenge? Follow this post on your favorite device, or print the recipe. And when you’ve finished, remember to post your photos, tagged #bakealong. We’re looking forward to seeing your beautiful focaccia!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Michael

    Thank you for so often giving rough kneading times in your recipes! As a relative newbie to yeast doughs, these ballpark ranges are incredibly helpful. It’s no substitute for someone standing over your shoulder, but it’s the best I’ve got. I can’t wait to try this one!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Michael, best of luck as you embark on what we hope will be a very enjoyable plunge into yeast bread baking! Remember, our hotline folks are just a phone call (or chat) away: 855-371-2253. And remember: there are no “fails” in bread baking, sometimes just loaves that are more wildlife- than human-worthy… 🙂 Good luck with the focaccia — it’s really yummy! PJH

    2. chicook13

      I was going to make the same comment. I’ve been baking for a couple years now but having that little guideline sure takes a lot of my second-guessing away!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Kay, yes you can use 1 cup of fed starter in place of the overnight starter. For best results, weigh it to make sure it weighs 8 ounces and feed it the night before you’d like to bake. It will add just a slight tang to the focaccia and add another layer of flavor. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    2. Marlene Norton

      Not exactly a reply but a question. If I use 8 oz of my starter then feed it won’t I have to remove 8 oz before I use it?

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      It seems like there may be some confusion from our wording, Marlene — apologies. To prepare your starter for use, make sure to feed it the night (or 4-8 hours) before, so it’s nice and active and ready to use when you’re ready to mix the dough. You’ll then use 8 oz of your fed starter in your recipe in place of the overnight starter. The remaining starter should be fed again before going back to rest in the fridge (or on the counter if you keep it there). More questions? Feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE, and we’d be happy to talk you through it. Mollie@KAF

    4. Marlene Norton

      I would remove my question if I could. Just reread your response to the former question and obviously misunderstood the first time I read it. Use 8 oz freshly fed starter. Marlene

    5. Susan W

      I’m still confused. So if I feed my starter the night before and then mix 8oz of that into the dough, wouldn’t that be considered using UNfed starter in the dough, not fed?

    6. The Baker's Hotline

      Susan, it depends on how long you wait between the feeding and when you use it. If you feed it right before bed and then use it the next morning, it’s likely your starter will still be ripe and ready to use. However, if it sits for 12-16 hours (or more), it will probably need to be fed again. You can also feed it the day you’d like to use it, and just watch it closely until it’s ready to use. The amount of time this takes will vary based on how much starter you use, the temperature of your environment, etc. Here’s a handy blog about how to tell when you’re starter is fed, ripe, and ready to use. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  2. Kay Richardson

    Hi ! Could you use white whole wheat flour with same results ? Thanks – want to try this one soon !

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While whole wheat can lend added flavor and nutrition to yeasted doughs, the bran and germ present in whole wheat can also interrupt gluten development, leading to heavier, denser loaves. For this reason, we recommend starting with a partial substitution, just 25% of the total amount of flour. If you like the initial result, increase the percentage gradually until you find your favorite balance. If you’re a real whole wheat lover, we have had success subbing our White Whole Wheat for all of the flour called for in the dough. If you choose to do so, we heartily recommend sticking with AP Flour for the starter, as whole wheat ferments much more quickly. The texture will be a bit heavier and chewier, and you may find that you need a little additional water to get a soft, smooth dough. Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Susanne, we like using all-purpose flour in this recipe because it’s intended to be a more delicate style of focaccia – not the lofty, chewy kind we’re more accustomed to in the US. For a little extra chew, you could make it with bread flour instead, just keep in mind that you may need to add up to 2-3 Tbsp of water to account for bread flour’s higher absorption rate. Either way, happy baking! Mollie@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sure, go for it; you’ll probably need to increase the liquid a bit to account for those flours’ higher protein, but the result should be yummy. 🙂 PJH

  3. Wendy C

    Love all your bake alongs. Just finished the Blueberry cakes and they were wonderful.
    Can I email a picture? I’m not on Facebook.
    I am looking forward to the Focaccia bread.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for regularly taking part in the challenges, Wendy! You’re more than welcome to email a photo of your bakes to customercare[at]kingarthurflour.com We won’t be able to share your photo online, but we’d love to join you in celebrating your Bakealong success. Mollie@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Susa, try our Light Focaccia, which uses Italian-style flour. If you want to substitute the Italian flour in this recipe, you’ll need to adjust the water downwards a bit, probably. Either way it should work, though — good luck. PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Melanie, we don’t do much baking with fresh yeast here, so we haven’t tested exact conversions for this recipe. When we do find ourselves in need of that info, we turn to this table from the experts at Red Star Yeast. Hope it helps get you headed in the right direction! Mollie@KAF

  4. Karen

    If kneading is done in a stand mixer, is it necessary to use the dough hook? That isn’t stated in the directions so I’m checking before I start. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Good question, Karen. Yes, it’s safe to assume that you should always use the dough hook to knead, unless noted otherwise. Mollie@KAF

  5. waikikirie

    LOVE the Blitz Bread: No-Fuss Focaccia. Will be making this probably in the coming months. Love the toppings. I’m thinking maybe a bit of homemade pesto and some parmesan shavings. Keep ’em coming PJ. Always enjoy the blog, but gotta say, LOVE when you post. xooxoxox Rie

    Reply
  6. Joyce

    Can you freeze a portion of this dough for later and if “yes”, at what stage should you freeze the portion?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Joyce, to make this dough suitable for freezing, we suggest increasing the yeast called for by one quarter. This will offset any yeast that is killed by the cold temperatures. Once the dough is kneaded, allow it to rise until doubled, then deflate the dough – dividing it and placing a portion into a plastic freezer-storage bag. Double-bagging is even better. The dough may be stored in the freezer for about 4–8 weeks. When you are ready to use the second part of the dough, defrost it at room temperature then shape as desired, let it rise and bake as the recipe directs! Not sure if you will get to the dough soon enough? Remove the dough from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge. If you do this in the morning, the dough will be thawed and ready to shape when you get home. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  7. Debra Rutan

    I have been making this for several years now. I grease the pan with olive oil, line with parchment, and oil the parchment. The bread pops right out of the pan coated on all sides with tasty olive oil.

    Reply
    1. Margaret Shea

      Thanks for the suggestion, Deborah. I was thinking of using parchment because I don’t like the gummy residue that baking spray leaves. I’ll try it your way.

  8. Barbara

    Have you tried using the Italian-Style Flour in this recipe? I prefer it for my pizza dough and wonder if it would make a difference here, too.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Should work fine, Barbara, giving you a focaccia that’s light and perhaps a bit less chewy; you’ll probably have to adjust the amount of water a bit. But instead, why not just make this Light Focaccia, which was developed to use our Italian-Style flour? I think you’ll enjoy it — good luck. PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Debbie, the overnight starter really shouldn’t be stretched much longer than the 14 hours at room temperature, as it will over-ferment. If you know ahead of time that you won’t get to it within that time frame, one option would be to allow it to ferment more slowly in the fridge. Otherwise, we’d really suggest sticking with the timeline outlined in the recipe. Mollie@KAF

    2. Wyndham Traxler Carter

      I have had really good luck making starter and freezing it until I’m ready to use it. I just let it thaw completely and come to room temperature and follow the recipe from there. This frees me up from having to plan ahead so much when I want to bake bread that needs a starter because it’s handy in the freezer and just needs thawed.

  9. Savannagal

    I just finished baking mine. I think it turned out great. I’ve already chomped into it. Of course I let it cool completely first. Thanks so much for the clear directions and close up photos. That really helps. Can’t wait to try some of the others now.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      YAY! So glad you’re enjoying it. Good luck going forward — hope you get a chance to try some more of our Bakealong recipes as you go. PJH

  10. Janice

    Greetings! I really want to try this recipe.

    When you say it will fit into an 18″ x 13″ half sheet pan does this mean the dough will comfortably stretch edge to edge? Or, that generally, a free form shape will fit?

    Thanks for recipe and feedback!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Janice, it will fit edge to edge if you give it a lot of rests as you’re stretching it; and you’ll end up with focaccia that’s quite thin. I prefer free-forming it, making an oval that leaves an inch or two around the edges; it’s more chewy than crisp that way. Good luck — I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. PJH

  11. cheryl e.

    What modifications would I make to this recipe to get a 2″ to 3″ fluffy thickness? Additionally, do you think you could also post your recipes in grams? Thx!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Cheryl, we love baking by weights! When you’re viewing the actual recipe page, you can click on the “ounces” or “grams” buttons if you’d like to see the recipe displayed in these units. As for your question about making a thicker focaccia, try baking the recipe in two 8″ or 9″ round pans or one 9″ by 13″ pan. The bake time may need to be extended slightly, but not by much. You’ll be left with a lofty, chewy focaccia. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

  12. Paula

    Hi! I just made this today. I’m not so sure what happened but my dough turned out to be quite wet, not at all how it was in the pictures. I couldn’t get it to form into a ball after kneading it in my stand mixer. I measure my ingredients so I don’t know where it went haywire. Anyway, I still baked it and it turned good. It was not as thick (probably an inch thick) and had lots of holes when cut (is that expected?). It was chewy too. Not bad at all but just wondering what happened.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Paula, it sounds like there may have either been a slight measuring error (it can still happen to the best of us bakers, even when trying to measure carefully). Or if you used another kind of flour with a lower protein percentage (which is common if you use another brand that’s not King Arthur Flour), you may have had a wetter, stickier dough. For best results, we recommend using King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, and measuring by weight using a scale or like this. It should give you a nice crumb and chew. Good luck! Kye@KAF

    2. Paula

      I think you nailed it with the ‘another kind of flour’. I just looked at my pantry today and realized that I grabbed a different kind of flour!

      I’ll try it out again soon, thanks!

  13. LaVerne

    Can sprouted wheat flour be used when making this? It looks absolutely yummy! Thanks for any information you can give me on this.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Like we recommended with a whole wheat (either white whole wheat or traditional) version of this recipe, you’ll want to start by replacing 25% of the all-purpose flour with Sprouted Wheat Flour. If you like both the flavor and texture, feel free to use more in subsequent batches, up to 50% or even 75%. Keep in mind the overnight starter should always be made with all-purpose flour for best results. (Whole wheat starters get stinky and funky fast!) Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  14. P. Perkins

    I really like some of the challenges, but would really like to see weight or baker’s percentage for salt. Different salts weigh differently, and for low sodium diets weight is far more important than volume.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for making the suggestion, fellow baker! We appreciate your attention to detail and agree that salt can vary widely based on the size of their granules. For all intents and purposes, our recipes are developed using non-iodized table salt. Weight and saltiness can vary drastically if you’re using Kosher salt, but table salt is ground to the same fineness and should yield comparable results, regardless of brand. We’ve shared your suggestion about including baker’s percentage or weights with our Recipe Team to consider in future discussion about the way salt is listed. Kye@KAF

  15. HMB

    Italian bakery in the neighborhood also makes a foccacia topped with grapes — so good! A tip I learned from them is to roast vegetables while the dough is rising, and then top the dough with veg when it’s time to bake. Delish with eggplant and zucchini, or potatoes and onion. If you add mustard to the dough, fab with roasted red peppers. Roasted fruit is great too — inspired by the grapes, I have done with cherries and Italian prune plums. So good!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Fresh rosemary would be lovely to adorn your focaccia. Typically dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor, so you need to use more fresh herbs to achieve the same level of flavor. Fresh rosemary, however, can be quite potent so you’ll want to be mindful about how much you use, adjusting to taste. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you prefer the fruity, aromatic flavor of extra-virgin olive oil and you have some on hand, we encourage you to use it! The flavor will shine through in the final focaccia, and it’s even better if you set a little aside for dipping too. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  16. Diane

    The recipe bakes beautifully in two eight-inch square cake pans — one loaf to eat and one to freeze. Bakes in 18 minutes.

    Reply
  17. Ann-Margret Tober

    Planning to make this next weekend and serve it with Italian (cooked in the oven) onion soup and a crisp white wine.
    Thank you for all these wonderful adventures in baking. My husband was really happy with the blueberry hand pies.

    Reply
  18. Carolyn

    Made this yesterday morning to accompany an all-Italian meal that I delivered to a group of administrators at the school district where my daughter works. I’ve made versions of this using a different recipe in the past but since I always have great success with King Arthur recipes, I decided to give this a whirl. Used my bread machine through the first rise and I always use KA yeast. I needed a bit more flour than the recipe called for and I swapped out a combo of dried oregano/basil for the rosemary (personally, I love rosemary and actually like to add it to the dough rather than put it on top). The dough was easy to work with and very soft and pillowy. Turned out great. Only thing I wished I had done was not pat it so thin so that I would have a bit more bread-consistency in the center — will do that next time, because there will be a next time. Although it couldn’t have been too bad, because there’s none left . . .

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Carolyn, always a good sign, right? No leftovers! How nice that you made a meal for the administrative team from your daughter’s school district; baking and sharing is a win-win, isn’t it? The dough for this focaccia is totally versatile; pat it thin, leave it thicker, it’s going to taste great either way. Plus, you can vary the herbs as needed. Thanks for baking and connecting — PJH

  19. carol

    Perfect…your directions and photos for this recipe were just what I needed. My focaccia came out perfect – texture, taste and everything. I will be making this every time we have company over for dinner which is every weekend!

    Reply
  20. SarahD

    Yum. I made this today using white whole wheat flour for everything except the starter (and a touch of extra water and a bit of gluten). I was very mean to this dough because I was making it in between life, so I stuck it in the fridge when I first made the full dough as I was on my way out the door for 2 1/2 hours, and then I pulled it out upon my return, shaped it in the pan and only gave it a total of a touch over an hour to rise before baking it on the BBQ grill (way too hot to turn on the oven). Despite this treatment, it was still delicious. I topped it with rosemary, rosemary finishing salt, and just a touch of pepper (the kiddo doesn’t much care for pepper), and it was gobbled up. I only baked 1/4 of the dough. The rest remains in the fridge for the morrow. Hope it keeps well.

    Reply
  21. Jennifer Carlson

    I mixed a half cup of water and one cup of flour to make the starter, but it was definitely not paste like. It formed a ball before I had even incorporated all the flou! So it was very stiff and bread dough-like. I actually had to add water to make it more pasty. I hope it comes out OK! Just putting it to rest overnight now.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Adding more water here sounds like the right call, Jennifer. Our best guess is that you got a little more flour into your cup than intended. This can easily happen when measuring flour by volume and will lead to a drier, heavier mixture. For best results, we recommend either measuring your flour by weight or using the KAF fluff, sprinkle and sweep method detailed here. This will help ensure that you get the relatively light cup of flour our recipes intend. And not to worry, auto-correct happens to everyone. We went ahead and made the edits you suggested in your other comments, rather than posting them all here and distracting from your important question. Hope you don’t mind 🙂 Mollie@KAF

  22. LynC

    My apologies. I made this last week and left the kitchen in search of my phone camera. Returning I found most of it gone! But some very happy eaters. So no image for you yet. Sigh. Fortunately upcoming gatherings should provide an opportunity to rectify this void. It was delicious.
    One tiny enhancement: I made an infused olive oil with kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder and chopped fresh herbs that included lots of basil. Melded that into the dough.
    Great recipe. Like the new direction to go back to the source.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It could be, Cheryl, but we think that once you have a bite, you just might regret it. When halving any yeasted recipe, you have the option to use the same amount of yeast for a quicker rise, or halving the yeast as well for a slower rise. Different bakers have different preferences, and you should feel free to choose whatever amount best fits your schedule and tastes. Mollie@KAF

  23. Debbie A

    When you say salt in the bread recipe, did you mean table salt? Also, I had to add more water to the dough as it was really dry and the yeast was not dissolving. Now it is a pretty dough and in its first rise.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Debbie, yes table salt is correct. All of our recipes use regular table salt (not Kosher). We’re glad to hear you followed your baking instincts and adjusted the dough as it was necessary to ensure a nice, soft dough. Sometimes if the flour is scooped right from the bag, it can compact in the measuring cup and more ends up needing to be added to achieve the right texture. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  24. Lisa

    So I just started the starter, contrary to the instructions it did indeed “ball up” even though imeasured exactly. I added a bit more water but it stayed pretty solid, not at all like the pictures starter…

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Lisa, we’re wondering what kind of flour you’re using and how you measured it. In order to make a starter that’s the right consistency, we recommend measuring by weight using a scale for best results, or using this technique here. Additionally, be sure you’re using King Arthur All-Purpose Flour if you’re not already doing so, as other brands or varieties may need a different amount of water to become properly hydrated. Kye@KAF

  25. Deb M

    I want to make this to bake in my toaster oven while camping. Just to be sure I have it right, I can make the dough and divide it in half and freeze it (following the instructions above for adding a little extra yeast). Then, when I want to cook it, take one of the halves out, thaw and shape in a well oiled 8″ cake pan and then bake according to instructions? This sounds so yummy!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Deb, you didn’t mention letting the dough rise once before diving and freezing, which you’ll want to do to encourage the deep, yeasty flavor that makes focaccia so delicious. After you let the dough thaw and shape it, it’ll need to rise once more before baking. Don’t forget to follow the instructions in the original recipe for dimpling the dough and drizzling with olive oil and herbs. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Bean, you have two options. You can either use 1 cup (8 ounces) of fed sourdough starter in place of the overnight starter in the recipe, or you could add 1 cup of starter (fed or unfed) to the dough (on day two, after making the overnight starter). If you opt for the second choice, you’ll want to reduce the flour by about 1 cup (4 ounces) and the water by 1/2 cup (4 ounces). Both are great options that should give you a subtly tangy flavor. You can’t go wrong! Kye@KAF

    2. 55NormaJean

      Can I use sourdough starter in both the overnight starter AND on day 2 in the final mix? Or must commercial yeast be used in at least one of the steps? I have a very active sourdough starter and have not had to use commercial yeast in both my bread and pizza crusts for over a year. Thank you.

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      Congrats on such sourdough success! If you have a very active starter, replacing the overnight starter with 1 cup/8 oz of fed starter may be enough to leaven the full amount of dough here. The added commercial yeast helps to ensure a good rise, but your reliable starter may not need that extra bit of security. Just know that the dough will require longer to rise, as you’ve probably experienced when leavening bread or pizza dough entirely starter. We hope you’ll report back once you give it a bake! Mollie@KAF

  26. Joe C

    PJ, I want to do larger quantities of focaccia, how would I go about maybe quadrupling the recipe for starter and all?
    Thanks,
    Joe

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sounds like you’re looking to bake some serious focaccia, Joe! While it could hypothetically work to mix up an overnight starter that’s scaled up enough to make a quadrupled batch of dough, you’re better off mixing up two double batches (use 2x the ingredients listed for the starter). This will ensure a more even distribution of ingredients, as well as proper fermentation. This approach of making two double batches also has the advantage that it will likely fit in your mixer if you have one, whereas a quadrupled batch is challenging to knead either by hand or machine. Be sure to watch your dough closely as it rises, as double batches can rise at different rates depending on your yeast and the rising environment. We hope that helps, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  27. Afshan Saifuddin

    Hi,
    The bread comes out crunchy when it initially cools down. I have sent a picture at customercare@kingarthurflour.com with Afshan Saifuddin as the name. My question is to make it soft. Like an Afghani bread. How do i alter the recipi? or am I putting less water on top before baking? Thank you, Afshan

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there fellow baker, our bakers on the Hotline will likely answer your email with advice along the same lines: this recipe for Golden Focaccia is designed to produce a crispy/crunchy focaccia. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit more tender, you might want to use a recipe like Gael’s Saturday Focaccia or our Blitz Bread: No-Fuss Focaccia recipe. Both are formulated to produce thicker, slightly more chewy breads. We think they’ll be more along the lines of what you’re looking for. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  28. Trish

    Just made this today but used all KAF white whole wheat. It was darker. I added a little more water to get the dough texture right. I let it rise a little longer because I had time. Delicious!

    Reply
  29. Carole from Indianapolis

    I made this focaccia today with the starter made last night. The dough was soft and didn’t make a ball very well, but I make a lot of flatbreads and the dough was just like my fougasse dough. The golden color was really beautiful; the dough fit perfectly in a quarter sheet pan lined with parchment, and the fresh rosemary I used did not get overly brown or burned. The bread is about 1 3/4″ thick, perfect for splitting horizontally to make sandwiches or for other uses. My usual recipe takes three days (36 hour rest in refrigerator before baking), so it was really nice to have something done the same day I made the dough, and, of course, it was really good too.

    Reply
  30. Becky radich

    My three year old baking assistant and I made this exactly as written and it was delicious. She thinks it was better than the baguettes from a few months ago even. Thanks for the fun challenge.

    Reply
  31. Janet

    This is kind of a dumb question, but when you say cover, what do you mean? Loosely with a towel? Tightly with plastic wrap? Something else?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Not a dumb question at all, Janet. Cover means keep air out with something you can see through, to keep the top of the dough from drying out. There are a lot of ways to do this. Greased plastic is usually a good idea; it doesn’t need to be tight unless you want to see it expand as the carbon dioxide in the fermenting dough creates a bulge. A baking sheet is fine over the top of the pan, as long as you set a timer so you don’t forget it. If you have a very big mixing bowl that fits over the pan, that works, too. Susan.

    2. Janet

      Thanks, that’s helpful. I’ve never really made bread before, and don’t have a stand mixer or a bread machine. It would have been helpful to have a few more tips on working by hand (i.e., how long to knead, whether or not to add flour if it’s super sticky, etc.). I felt like I was winging it. It’s proofing now, and I’m a little worried since it never really got smooth. Maybe I should I have kneaded longer. Ahhh, the stress of not knowing?! Time will tell at this point!

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      Janet, you should knead the dough until it’s smooth and springy to the touch. The dough should feel slightly tacky, like the back of a post-it note. If it’s stickier than this, you should add additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the just-barely tacky texture. Kye@KAF

  32. Jane

    I made this twice, once without the starter (I forgot about it) and once with it. The one with the starter definitely better. I also used a bit more olive oil in the pan on the second one. Used fresh rosemary from my garden. A winner.

    Reply
  33. Janet Meadows

    I’ve made this twice so far and it is AWESOME! Really delicious. It’s easy to make, but with 2 1/2 hrs total raising time, not a fast bake — but worth the wait!

    I’ve created a twitter account just for the King Arthur Bake-a-longs, but will probably post for now on Pin-it until I get the hang of twitter.

    Reply

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