Focaccia is a great yeast bread to learn to make. It doesn’t require any special shaping and it requires only a short rising time. It is also versatile. You can eat it almost straight out of the oven, while it is still crispy on the outside and hot and soft inside, but you can also bake it a day in advance and use it for sandwiches or panini.
This Onion Focaccia is one of my favorites. Diced onions are incorporated directly into the bread dough and more are sprinkled on top before baking. The onions that are inside of the bread bake up to be very sweet and tender, while those on top of the bread caramelize and brown in the oven, adding another layer of flavor. I typically use dried rosemary on this bread because it goes very well with the onion. You can use finely chopped fresh rosemary, if you have it, but dried rosemary tends to be handier if you don’t grow your own herbs.
This bread is easy to mix by hand, but things will go a little bit faster if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook. Once the dough is mixed and risen, you’ll just turn it out into the pan to press it into shape. Focaccia usually has a dimpled surface. To achieve this look, use your fingertips and press the dough outward toward the edges of your pan, spreading it gently and gradually. The dough will look thin when it has been spread out, but it will still rise perfectly in the oven.
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water, warm (100-110F)
3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 large onion, diced, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp coarse salt
In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar, yeast and water. Stir mixture and let stand for 5 minutes, until yeast is slightly foamy.
Stir in 3 cups of the flour – or mix in with the dough hook of your stand mixer – and dough will start to come together. Stir in salt and half of the diced onion, then gradually stir in the remaining flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a slightly sticky ball. You may not need all of the remaining flour. Turn out onto a floured surface (or continue to knead with the dough hook) and knead until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan (at least 12×18-inches) with parchment paper or grease with olive oil.
When dough has risen, punch down the dough gently and turn it out onto prepared pan. Drizzle olive oil over the bread and use your fingertips to press and stretch the dough to a rectangle that is roughly 12×18-inches. Sprinkle with remaining diced onion, dried rosemary and coarse salt.
Let the dough rise for 20 minutes.
Bake bread for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.