I mentioned that yesterday, in class, we made focaccia in addition to our tortillas. I’m fairly certain that I had never before had sage focaccia. Now I am not sure that I want focaccia without it. The flavor was subtle and the taste was fabulous. This was a soft, light bread that I turned into some great grilled sandwiches for dinner.
Focaccia is a yeasted, flat italian bread that is brushed (or doused) with oil before it is baked until golden. Unlike many breads, this bread is intended to develop a soft, thin crust. The best way to do this is to bake it on a sheet pan and allow it to cool on the pan before removing it to a rack. When you lift the bread, you will notice that the bottom of the pan is wet from condensation; the bread will dry on the rack, preventing sogginess, but this condensation keeps the crust from becoming hard, crispy or dry. I wish I had thought to take a photo of the lovely, dimpled bottom of the bread. But make it yourself and see what I mean.
This recipe makes a big batch – one 11×15 inch rectangle or 3 9-inch circles. You might want to halve it. You could also use rosemary instead of the sage if sage is unavailable to you. Wrap it in plastic wrap when completely cooled to keep it soft.
4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm (110F) water2 1/2 cups room temperature water
2 tbsp olive oil
6-7 cups ap flour
1 tbsp salt
24-30 chopped fresh sage leaves, plus extra whole leaves for garnish
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
salt (coarse or flake is preferable)
24-30 chopped fresh sage leaves
Combine yeast and warm water in a large bowl and leave until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.
Stir 2 1/2 cups water, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 cups flour and 1 tbsp salt into the yeast mixture. Add in the remaining flour, one cup at a time, until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl into a ball. Add the sage halfway through the flour additions. Move dough to flat surface and knead dough for 5-8 minutes, until the ball is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled – about 1 1/2 hours.
For a rectangular focaccia: Gently lift the dough onto an oiled 11×16 jelly-roll pan(or cut in half and use two smaller baking sheets with sides), stretching it out slightly as you transfer it.
For a round focaccia: Cut the dough in three pieces and gently lift the dough into three oiled pie pans.
Splay your fingers and press into dough, indenting it and pushing it out towards the sides of the pan, much like a cat kneading a blanket, until the pan is full. This keeps the air bubbles in the dough. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Dimple dough again with your fingertips, brush with 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and garnish with sage leaves. Let dough rest until the oven is fully preheated.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Let cool in pan for 20-25 minutes before removing it to a wire rack to cool completely.
MikaMay 13, 2005
Wow, I always thought soggy bottom crust was bad. The foccacia with sage sounds interesting.
NicMay 13, 2005
Mika – The crust won’t be soggy because you let the bread finish cooling on a rack (though if you left it on the pan it might get soggy). The moisture will keep it soft. If your foccacia gets soggy, then take it out of the pan to cool a bit sooner next time.
the bakerMay 13, 2005
i love foccacia! have been looking for a good recipe to try… now i think I might just use yours!
anyway thanks for dropping by my blog! ya you saw the soft pretzels ya? they were really yummy yet easy to make. i chanced upon your site and was hooked ever since. YOu’ve got some pretty amazing recipes which I’ve already bookmarked and would try making in the future! keep up the good eats… cheers…
J.T.May 14, 2005
Foccacia is one of my favorite breads. Have you ever tried it with dried toms, rosemary and carmelized onions…omg…it’s so good. And don’t get me started with a dessert foccacia. lol
Nice blog…found you via one of my links on my blogroll.
NicMay 15, 2005
Baker – I just can’t get enough of good yeasted breads.
JT – I’ve never had a dessert foccacia, but I saw a recipe for a blueberry one a while back. I love the idea!
EmilyMay 20, 2005
I made your recipe using rosemary and added chopped carmelized onions. It was fabulous. I had sandwiches all week that were so much more interesting than with the storebought bread we’re used to.
I made two loaves in round pie pans that produced a pretty thick bread. The third one I placed on a baking sheet and spread it thinner. Both kinds were great, the thicker one being easier to slice in half for sandwiches.
I love that it makes so much–I like maximum results for my effort! Thanks. Really enjoying your site.
NicMay 20, 2005
Emily – Oh, I’m so glad you liked it! Carmalised onions sounds like the would be a great addition. Next time I’m baking a loaf I’ll have to remember to use some.
Jamaican MomSeptember 2, 2007
LOVE you recipes! I tried this recipe the other night and wow! What a response from my family! My husband said that my cooking is always really good…but he said that this was ‘amazing’. It really was delicious…I didn’t use sage, but on top I added homemade ‘spaghetti sauce’ and cheddar cheese…kids couldn’t get enough. I’ll be making it again this week with different toppings.
SusanOctober 2, 2009
I’m making this for the third time today. I like to serve it sandwich style with portabella mushrooms. I have two huge rosemary bushes in my yard, so I’ll sub rosemary for sage. I have also used carmalized onions w/rosemary. Yummo! Thanks for an easy, managable recipe. Now I’m off to buy fresh yeast!