Focaccia is one of my favourite Italian classics.
Using a preferment, this dough gets an amazing flavour and an awesome crispy crust. Top it with your favourite toppings. Be it vegetables, olives, cheese, ham, or any other thing you fancy. Just remember to not go overboard. Less is more. As always, the most important part is the bread itself. As long as you understand how it works and are able to control it, you are able to customize it to your liking.
Watch my video down below to get detailed instructions on how to bake this beautiful bread.
For the poolish (pre-ferment):
250g (8.8z) strong white bread flour.
250g (8.8oz) water at around 20C (68F) if your kitchen is around 20-22C (68-72F). If it is warmer, then lower the water temp by 1-2C (33-35F) and vice versa.
Small pinch of yeast.
For the main dough:
250g (8.8oz) strong white bread flour.
10g (0.35oz) salt.
5.5g (0.2oz) dry yeast or three times the amount of fresh yeast.
115g (4oz) water at 25C (77F) if your kitchen is around 20-22C (68-72F). If it is warmer, then lower the water temp by 1-2C (33-35F) and vice versa.
To learn more about dough temperature control when using a preferment click here.
Roasted vegetables or any toppings of you choice.
Olive oil for topping.
- Make the poolish by mixing the water, yeast, and flour until combined. Cover and ferment for 12-16h. If the prefement is ready and well fermented, but you are not ready to make the dough yet, then place it in your fridge where it will cool down and that will prevent it from overproofing. Come back to it when you are ready and use it right from the fridge.
- To make the main dough add the remaining yeast to the water and disperse.
- Pour this into the ripe poolish and the salt and mix until combined.
- Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
- Using the stretch & fold technique knead the dough until decent gluten development. Desired dough temperature 25-26C (76-70F). If your dough is cooler, then it may ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it may take longer. Adjust the proofing times up or down accordingly.
- Fold three times at 20 – 30 minute intervals. If your dough is at the right temperature, then fold every 30 mins if it is warmer then every 20 minutes. After the first fold pre-heat your oven to 250C (480F) no fan or 230C (450F) with fan.
- After the last fold leave to proof for another 20 – 30 minutes.
- Place the dough on an oiled tray, top with your favourite toppings.
- Final proof 30 minutes. If your dough is rising slowly, then simply leave it for longer.
- Bake at 230C (450F) no fan or 210C (410F) with the fan on for around 30 minutes. Your oven may be more powerful, so your bread may bake more rapidly. Keep an eye on it to get a perfect bake.
Let cool down and enjoy!
Watch the video here