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Ligurian Focaccia with Olives, Fennel & Red Onion

This Ligurian Focaccia is golden and crisp on the outside & fluffy and chewy on the inside. Each bite is full of fruity & peppery olive oil and crunchy salt. Use the best extra-virgin olive oil you can and this will be the most delicious focaccia you've every had!

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 5 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, Diamond Crystal brand
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan and drizzling

For the Brine:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, Diamond Crystal brand
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water

Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/4 fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • flaky sea salt, like Maldon

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together water, yeast, and honey until everything is dissolved. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour and 2 tablespoons kosher salt together. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil to the flour. Stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl clean and cover with plastic wrap. Leave the mixture out at room temperature to ferment for 12 to 14 hours. It should be at least doubled in size.

  2. When the dough is ready, spread 2 tablespoons olive oil onto a 18-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Use a spatula to release the sticky dough from the sides of the bowl and then pour it onto the pan. Pour 2 more tablespoons of olive oil over dough. Gently stretch the dough to the edges of the sheet by placing your hands underneath and pulling outward. Let the dough proof for 30 minutes in a draft free place. During this time, it will likely shrink back bit, so during the 30 minutes, check on it twice and stretch it back to fit the pan.

  3. After 30 minutes, dimple the dough by pressing your fingers into the dough at an angle. Make the brine by stirring together salt and water until salt is dissolved. Pour the brine evenly over the dough. Let the dough proof for about another 45 minutes in a draft free place. The dough should be light and bubbly after this final proof.

  4. Thirty minutes into the final proof, adjust rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F. If you have a baking stone, place it on rack. If you don't have a baking stone, you can invert another baking sheet and place it directly on the  rack while the oven preheats.

  5. Sprinkle the dough with flaky salt and evenly spread the olives, fennel and red onion over the dough. Bake for 30-35 minutes directly on top of stone or inverted pan until bottom crust is crisp and golden brown when checked with a metal spatula and the top is golden brown.

  6. Remove from oven and brush 2 more tablespoons olive oil over the whole surface. Let cool for 5 minutes, then carefully release focaccia from pan with metal spatula and transfer to a cooling rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.*

Recipe Notes

*If a whole sheet pan of focaccia is a bit too much, fear not, it freezes beautifully! Just cut the focaccia, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and stash it in an airtight container or bag. When you want some focaccia, just discard the plastic wrap, wrap the bread in foil & reheat it in a  325 degree oven until warmed through. Then unwrap the bread so that the edges crisp back up a little & serve.

**The original recipe for Ligurian Focaccia from the Netflix series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat can be found here!