Mastering focaccia, step by step

By now, you guys should be aware that to me, Dan Lepard is to bread-making what Pierre Hermé is to pastry. My icon and absolute role model.

I never really used to make bread, except for the occasional pizza dough; but since I’ve discovered Dan’s take on bread making I’ve literally been unstoppable. Fresh yeast has become a staple in my fridge and I’m known to run to the grocery store as soon as my flour stock approaches 2kg.

So far, I had only made white loafs or buns; to which I regularly added ingredients such as herb butter, cheese or mashed potatoes.
However, I needed a focaccia for the Christmas Eve dinner my sister and I were hosting. And while I firstly intended to make my reliable pizza dough, only slightly wetter; I quickly moved on Dan’s recipe. And boy, I’m glad I did!

This focaccia is the best flat bread I’ve ever had and it’s a delight to make. Still, the whole process can seem a little daunting because of the different steps and resting times.

Given that I really want you to make this focaccia and bite into a crusty yet moist square of this fragrant bread, I thought it would be great if we made some together. Get your aprons ready!

Again, the mise-en-place is fundamental and will make you save precious time. Here, we’ll make a ferment then add water, oil, flour and salt.

For the ferment, you’ll need:
200g water at 20°C
150g flour tipo 00 (French type 45 works well too)
7g fresh yeast, finely crumbled

To which you’ll add:
150g water at 20°C
15ml olive oil, plus extra for folding
375g flour tipo 00
10g fine salt

01.

Mix together the ingredients for the ferment in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave at warm room temperature for 2 hours, giving the mixture a good stir after the first hour.
After the resting time, the mixture should be all bubbly and have doubled in size.

02.

Whisk in the water and oil. Then mix in the flour and salt with a spoon, until roughly combined.
Cover the bowl and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

03.

Rub your hands, the work surface and the dough with some oil and scrape the dough onto the work surface. Work the dough by gently stretching it with your right hand, keeping it in place with your left thumb. Then fold and rotate the dough. Repeat this kneading about 10 times, but make sure to stop before it starts sticking to the work surface.
Knead again twice at 10-minute intervals. The dough will change from lumpy to smooth and elastic.
Cover with a cloth and leave to rest for 40 minutes.

04.

It’s now time to do some serious stretching and folding. This will stretch and elongate the upcoming bubbles making for big and uneven holes in the final bread.
Stretch the dough into a rectangle then fold it into thirds first in one direction then the other. Repeat this twice with 40-minute intervals.

05.

Once you’ve stretched-folded three times, allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes before going on with the shaping.

06.

Rub a baking tray with olive oil and place the dough onto it. Lightly flatten the dough using your fingers – it’s normal if it springs back. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Pick the corners of the dough and stretch them out until they reach the corners of the tray. Sprinkle with a little water and some oil.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200°C and bake for a further 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

54 thoughts on “Mastering focaccia, step by step

  • Jennifer January 4, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    dear fanny
    can you use dried yeast instead of fresh?
    happy new year!
    Jennifer

    Hi Jennifer, you can certainly substitute the fresh yeast by dried yeast. I tried the recipe using 5g (1tsp) of instant yeast and got great results.

  • Lola January 4, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    I love your step by step photographs!

  • Shawnda January 4, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I love the pictorial 🙂

  • Vinciane January 4, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Tu me donnes envie de courir dans ma cuisine pour en faire une tout de suite!

  • EB January 4, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I love the step by step graphics!! Super cute AND helpful!
    Erin

  • mary January 4, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve always just used a simple pizza dough to make focaccia, but I’ll be happy to try this one out if it can give me better results. Love, love, love the photos.

  • Lucy Vanel January 4, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Hmm, Focacia looms large on my horizon now.

  • L January 4, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Fanny! I am so in love with your doodling on your photos! The photos themselves are gorgeous, but so much more fun with the little illustrations on top. I’m with you on Dan too… he is a master.
    -L

  • Elin January 4, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Fab photos! And an excellent additional aid to make sure anyone who tries this out (and I might just) Gets It Right. x

  • Anna January 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    That look soooo good….mmm. The texture looks amazing.

  • Graeme January 4, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Fantastic walkthrough, even I understand it.
    Do I need to keep track of 30 minutes? Or will the dough tell me it’s ready like yours did? 🙂

    It might. Only if you’re being really nice with it though. And try not to be surprised by its squeaky voice. I warned you.

  • Rosa January 5, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Marvelous! Une focaccia qui est parfaite!
    Bises,
    Rosa

  • Zarah Maria January 5, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Real awesome photos Fanny!

  • monica January 5, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    i love all of your step-by-step recipes! you’re such a brilliant and talented gal. and i agree, your doodles on the photos are what make the whole thing even better! how do you do that? is it the type of computer you use?

  • anna-sarah January 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    enfin!!

  • Orchidea January 5, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Your focaccia is perfect… “alveolatura” perfetta.
    Ciao.

  • Marilyn January 5, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Fanny,
    I made this recipe for focaccia yesterday afternoon with terrific results. I’ve tried to make focaccia using different recipes and each time they were nothing but disappointments; basically, they were flattened regular bread dough. This, however, was wonderful. The crumb is reminiscent of no-knead bread (but dare I say better?), and better yet, the next day it still tastes delicious, even though the crust has softened.
    Thanks so much for sharing, really.

  • Joanna January 5, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Fanny,
    I tried to make some focaccia just last week and as others have commented, the result was just flat white bread with some salt on top. Not what I was looking for at all! This might be just what I was looking for.
    I’ve tagged you – check it out on my blog.

  • Julie O'Hara January 5, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Fanny,
    Happy new year! That’s really beautiful bread! I love making pizza dough, but never have tried foccacia. I know it’s NOT the same thing, though I’ve seen a lot of recipe say to just stretch out your pizza dough. I think all the resting times in this recipe must be worth it…it’s not difficult at all. I’ve got to find some 00 flour so I can try it.
    Julie

    Hi Julie, this recipe so is worth it. Beyond words, beyond anything actually.
    Anyway, regarding the flour, you don’t have to use tipo 00 flour. I tried with both 00 and 45 and didn’t spot much difference. Type 45 flour is a French type of flour in which the wheat grains are super finely ground; so I guess, that if you can put your hands onto some superfine flour, it’ll make the trick.

  • Amy January 5, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I’ve been daunted by making bread but this step by step guide is excellent! I will be making this as soon as possible.

  • links for 2008-01-05 « linksnstuff January 5, 2008 at 10:19 pm

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  • miss shoo January 6, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I love your fotos, and the step by step instructions – perfect!

  • Cindy January 6, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I absolutely LOVE your pictures!

  • Tuki January 6, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Lovely, your step by step is absolutely perfect as usual! make bread is my passion and Dan Lepard is a Genius..so, even if I’m so proud of my focaccia I’ll try as soon as possible his recipe (you are always so convincing Fanny :). Kisses.

  • Annemarie January 6, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I just love a good focaccia and though I enjoyed the daring baker potato bread version, I want to cut my teeth on another. This looks and sounds wonderful – thanks for the step-by-step!

  • andreea January 6, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    oh i love this. absolutely love focaccia but have never attempted it at home. will have to put your on my to do 2008 (soon!) list 🙂

  • Cheryl - Gruel Omelet January 7, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Oh i so love focaccia. This looks absolutely magnificent.

  • elaine January 7, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    love the step by step instructions…how do we find fresh yeast. i am in the us. merci.

    Hi Elaine, if finding fresh yeast is a problem for you, you can always use a teaspoon of active dry yeast instead.

  • joey January 8, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Your focaccia is gorgeous! Thank you for the step by step photos, which are both adorable and very helpful! I will also be checking out Dan Lepard’s book…thanks for the reco 🙂

  • San Lorenzo Blog » Blog Archive » Foccaccia leicht gemacht January 8, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    […] schönste Anleitung für das Backen von Foccaccia findet sich bei Fanny vom foodbeam: Mastering focaccia, step by step. Nur etwas englisch muss man können, der Rest ist in Bildern […]

  • Kevin January 9, 2008 at 4:44 am

    Those are some seriously cool photo edits to illustrate the process. Kudos.

  • Sandra January 9, 2008 at 10:39 am

    fanny!! Delicious..it’s a perfect italian focaccia!Yum..
    Happy new year!

  • Helene January 9, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    What a cool, fun tutorial. Your bread looks really yummy.
    I am from the States, and was wondering if I can use all purpose flour and active dry yeast? If anyone from the states knows, please let me know, thanks.

    You can certainly use active dry yeast. 1tsp should be enough. Regarding the flour, try to get as close as tipo 00 flour by using superfine all purpose flour. If unavailable, all purpose flour should work almost equally well.

  • Liska January 9, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Fanny, you should get to know Jeffrey Hamelman…
    (I had been fallen in love with Dan, before I have read Hamelman’s book;)

    What a flirty girl you are 😉 By the way, your comment totally made me splurge one Jeffrey’s book. Can’t wait to get it.

  • kellypea January 10, 2008 at 3:06 am

    I love all the notations you put on your photos. Focaccia is a favorite of mine and this looks like a terrific recipe.

  • Lydia January 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Wonderful post — great photos and step-by-step instructions. Thank you.

  • Steamy Kitchen January 13, 2008 at 6:37 am

    Hey Fanny!
    I need to come here and hang out more often…you make it look so DARN easy.
    xoxo, jaden

  • Marama January 17, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Thank you for your beautiful pictures! I think my focaccia skills still have a fair way to go (this was my first attempt) but following your cute pictures and instructions provided me with a very cheap nights entertainment and some imperfect but highly edible focaccia 🙂

  • sooishi January 24, 2008 at 10:48 am

    alors ça je vais tester asap 😀
    J’adore ton billet avec la marche à suivre illustrée c’est très clair!

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  • Sere February 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Wow… your blog is fantastic!!!
    This “focaccia” is too similar to the focaccia Genovese.(Italian style)
    Kisses

  • comidademama February 18, 2008 at 6:50 am

    This recipe works really!
    I discover via Enza
    and I’m doing the second tray right now as for the first suddenly disappeared.
    Thanks for sharin this recipe.
    comidademama

  • comidademama February 19, 2008 at 9:46 am

    as a fair amount of Italian foodblogger can’t handle English easily we translated the recipe, giving of cours all the necessary credits
    http://www.montag.it/comida/archives/003889.html

  • WinterStar February 25, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Really interesting recipe! I’m gonna try it as soon as I will found 5 hours in a row…;)
    Thank You for sharing this recipe and really terrific your picture and the grafic: what a beautiful idea!!!! And helpful, too!!!

  • martina March 12, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    …i just discovered your blog —aaah it’s wonderful :=)

  • Mirko Junge March 30, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    What a great recipe! By increasing all the 10min. resting times to 20min. and also increasing the second baking time to 20min. the results are even better!

  • Courtney April 26, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    i just have to say thanks for walking me through each and every step of it, my focaccia came out beautiful! i love your paso a paso and the pictures that go with it, seriously helpful (and this isn’t the only recipe of yours that has led me through new recipes i’ve tried out). thanks again!

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  • Domenica Barano October 28, 2008 at 4:51 am

    I Just made this awesome recipe, I did add about a cup of home made black pitted olives from my parents olive grove to the dough and quite a bit of olive oil on top of it and some rock salt and it is absolutely delicious, when I lived in Italy I ate a lot of it but when I came home to New Zealand I couldn’t find the real stuff anywhere, it was just plain white bread flattened and that is not focaccia.
    I have tried Other recipes but they just didn’t turn out, I also used 1 teaspoon of died yeast. I took some around to my parents and they couldn’t believe i made it lol Madre was very impressed. So thank you for this great recipe that is quite versatile you have made a lot of tastebuds very happy.

  • Robin May 30, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Searched everywhere for a recipe that produces what I regard as real Italian focaccia – this is it. Thanks so much

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