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Summer Focaccia Ligurian Style

Mia Estolano-Levert
This Summer Focaccia recipe calls for a salty brine that makes it Ligurian. Ligurian Focaccia. The beautiful edible art with vegetables, herbs, and regular pantry items make this really special. Perfect for weekend projects.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
14 hrs
Total Time 15 hrs 55 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 9 x 13 inch focaccia

Equipment

  • 2 Mixing Bowls
  • Rubber Spatula
  • (2) 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet pans OR or ceramic / glass baking dishes OR (1) 18 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet pan
  • Piizza stone or extra sheet pan (to keep the bottom of the focaccia crispy)
  • For decorating: Chopsticks, Toothpick, BBQ stick or skewer clean tweezers
  • Kitchen towels, wet and dry

Ingredients
  

Focaccia Dough

  • 2 1/2  cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tsp honey
  • 800 g All-purpose unbleached flour 5 1/3 cups
  • 18 g Morton's Kosher Coarse Salt measures a scant of 1 tbsp. 3/4 tbsp if using fine seasalt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Extra Olive Oil

  • 2 tbsp olive oil to coat the dough before the ferment divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil to coat the sheet pan additional if using parchment paper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil to brush AFTER the bake

Deorative Herbs and Vegetables (see blog for a wider range of option)

  • Herbs: basil leaves, rosemary, chives, scallions
  • Edible flowers: daylilies, ginger, herb flowers (oregano, ginger, pineapply sage)
  • Black Olives
  • green olives
  • mushrooms
  • red tomatoes
  • yellow bell peppers
  • poppy seeds
  • red/purple onion

Optional Lemon Water Dip for herbs (water plus few drops of lemon)

    Instructions
     

    Dough Prep & Ferment

    •  Bowl 1: Mix water, yeast, and honey. Let it form bubbles for 10-15 minutes. 
    •  Bowl 2: Mix flour and salt together using your hand or a rubber spatula.
    • Then add the mixture from bowl 1 (yeast mixture) and olive oil. Stir until all ingredients are just incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl. 
    • Cut the dough in half (I eyeball it). Put the other half in the other bowl. Coat each dough with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to ferment at room temp (21-23C | 70-75F). 
      Adjust fermentation time depending on the room temperature.  

    Fermentation Cook Notes

    • 12-14 hours fermentation if room temp is between 70-75 F or 21-23 C
      6-8 hours if the room is warmer than 23 C
      18-24 hours if in the fridge + 2-4 hours to bring it to room temp
    • Visual Key is that the dough doubles in size.

    Prepare your Design for the two focaccia doughs.

      DOUGH THE NEXT DAY (AFTER 12-14 HOURS)

      • Spread 1 tablespoon evenly on the rimmed baking sheets. 
        Note: If using ceramic, add parchment paper, then brush the paper with olive oil. 
      • Gently tip the bowl onto the baking sheet. Use a rubber spatula or hand to encourage the release of dough. Careful not to break the bubbles. 
      • Gently spread the dough across. Stretch the dough by putting your hand underneath the dough and gently pulling it towards the edge of the sheet. 
        The dough will shrink. Don’t force the stretching. Do this in intervals of 15 minutes. So you will do this two more times before decorating, a total of 3 stretches.

      The Brine

      • Dimple the dough by pressing the pads of your fingers at an angle. 
      • Make the brine by stirring together salt and water until the salt is dissolved.
      • Split the brine in two, then pour over the two dough pans

      Proof and Decorate (30-40 minutes)

      • Carefully place the veggies according to your design. When you are happy with your design, go back and press it down with a toothpick or tweezers or toll that works for you. Press down, or it will pop out during the bake.

      Bake

      • Last 30 minutes before the bake, set the oven to 450 F. On the mid-rack, place a pizza stone or another sheet pan upside down as a substitute. This makes the bottom crust crisp.
      • Bake for 10 minutes on top of the upside-down sheet at 450F.
        Then at the last 12-15 minutes, lower heat to 375F. 
      • Remove from oven and brush with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Let cool for 5 minutes, then release focaccia from the pan.

      Serve

      • Serve immediately while warm or at room temperature. 

      Notes

      There are different types of salt! So make you use the right type of salt, or make it more conservative than what is asked in the recipe. 
      Lessen the amount of salt if you are sensitive to it. You can always sprinkle more sea salt after the bake when serving. :)
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